Category Archives: parenting

Parental Encouragement

For oh, so many years, I have felt like an octopus in church–or at least like I needed to be a creature with 8 arms to keep my little people in some modicum of decent behavior as our family attempted to worship God.  For 6+ years, I was doing most of my pew gymnastics solo as Mark was preaching every week.  Many Sundays, I felt like it was not worth it.

Something happened in church yesterday that confirmed my efforts were not in vain.   Immediately after the worship service, our oldest son, now 13,  said, “Mom, did you or Dad call Pastor and tell him about everything I have done wrong this week?”

I laughed and said, “No, why?”

“Well, this is the third week in a row that it seems like he was talking about stuff that I did,” he replied.

“Maybe God called Pastor about you, ” I said.

I laughed because only a kid thinks the world revolves around him so much that the pastor of his church would direct his sermon to him.  But the emotion that overcame me the most was joy because this means for at least the last 3 weeks, my 13-year-old has been paying attention to the sermon.  I also must add that after years of unwelcomed prodding to participate fully in worship by singing vigorously and to become fully engaged while reading the liturgy, he, along with his younger brother, can both be heard clearly by their fellow parishioners.

With this experience fresh in my mind, today several friends on facebook linked this article by Pastor Doug Wilson that encouraged me further in my parental efforts in the pew.  I am nearing the end of my physical struggles to parent in the pew, but I still have a pretty rascally 6-year-old daughter who needs some gentle prodding regarding behavior during worship.  So this encouragement is still needed to get me through to the end.  But I also need it because while the physical struggles are ending, the emotional and spiritual struggles are really beginning to heat up.

I now see why people want to keep their kids little forever.  As I see mine starting on the visible path to adulthood, I get more and more driven to pray for them. It would be so much easier if I could just keep wrestling with them to keep them still and quiet during church.

Wasup Wednesdays 3 – Or, Facebook Redux

Big news this week–Charis lost her two front teeth last night.  Here’s a shot of her and another of her with her big sister celebrating. Forgive the poor quality, please.

 And, football games started in earnest over last weekend.  Nevin’s uniform is not completely in hand yet, so photos of him in his gridiron gear will have to wait.  For now, here’s a few shots of Calvin ready for his first game.





No Longer on a Roll

So I was doing pretty well there with regular blog posts.  What happened?  What always does–life.

Mark has been crazy busy with work projects.  One has a quick turnaround deadline, and it is sort of speculative.  So pray he gets it done, and pray the $$ comes through.

Then there’s been all the kids’ stuff.  The girls are taking swimming lessons; Nevin is taking wrestling; and Calvin only made it on the waiting list for fencing, but he’ll get in the next session in a month or so.  Awana started for the the 3 younger ones three weeks ago, too.  And, Evangeline has been to the dentist twice in the past 2 weeks.  She had a toothache that turned out to be an abcessed tooth.  She had to have it pulled, and she was very brave about it all.  Then we took her back the following week for a cleaning and x-rays.  It turns out she has 2 more cavities that will need to be filled.  Oh, and the dentist informed me that we need to see an orthodontist.  Yay!  We have expected this with Nevin, but we were crossing our fingers that he would be the only one.

So in the midst of the nation’s economic crisis, life goes on.  Nevin asked me today what we would do if the economic system collapsed.  I told him we would be ok because we have practice with economic crisis.  He laughed at my little joke, which I guess is a good thing since he understood what I was getting at, and yet it didn’t make him unhappy.  (I also added that we would trust God and work for a solution, btw. )

The Skirty

My sister-in-law blogged about this at the beginning of the year, and I have wanted to purchase a skirty for each of my girls for obvious reasons since then.  But for a variety of reasons, I didn’t get around to it until last week.  Then, in the last couple of days, Amoretti, the maker of the skirty started a new blog with all kinds of hullabaloo about a new spring line, a “purse” giveaway, and another weekly drawing.  Take a look at what’s going on in the world of fashion for modest young ladies here.


To work or not to work, that is the question.

We have been thinking that my getting a job could be a help to our situation.  So on Friday, I had an “interview” for a temp-perm bookkeeping job that is part-time.  I am slated to start on Tuesday.


More income

18 hours a week, home when the kids are home from school

Only 4 miles from our house.

Still able to fit in at-home part-time job


More juggling when emergencies arise (ie, picking up a sick kid at school).

Child care issues when school is out for the day (you know, those staff in-services days)

Harder to keep up with things at home.

To complicate things further, after accepting this job, I received a call to interview for a full-time job that I think I would really enjoy.  Plus, though it is full-time, I might be able to negotiate some time flexibility because the company is not offering any benefits with the job.

Right now, I am planning to start the part-time job and interview for the other one on Wednesday.  But I am praying for wisdom.  There are lots of good reasons for me to be more available to my kids, so I might be leaning toward forgetting the full-time option.  Wouldn’t it be nice if we could see the future so we could know which choices are the best ones?

Library Elf

I came across the library elf on our local library’s website.  This is a great service if you are a parent who takes your kids to the library with any regularity.  It is a free service that links to libraries across the country and tracks individuals accounts to help you keep track of all those books, videos,  etc., that the whole family has checked out.  It sends you e-mails or text messages to remind you when items are due.  You can choose how far ahead of the due date you want the reminder.  You can also choose to get one reminder or daily reminders until the items are returned.  What makes this better than tracking accounts on the library’s website is that it lists the entire household’s checked out items.  Just go to your library elf account and it’s all there on one page.  This is going to save us time and money!  Woo-hoo!

Now, if only I could finda free laundry-elf, cooking elf, driving elf, cleaning-elf,  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

This, That, and the Other Thing; Baedekers Included

First, this:

Procrastination–I have a big project to complete, so I am finding every manner of activity to do instead of working on the project–blogging included.

Second, that:

The project I am completing involves a lot of data entry. Arrgh. So I am sitting with my laptop on the sofa and watching a movie while I enter the data. When I come to a stopping point, I do a little web surfing. This is not the most time-effective way to complete a project, but it makes me feel less like I am working on a Saturday. I won’t do all the work like this; I’ll buckle down and get it done on time.

I am watching a movie that I love, so I don’t have to really concentrate on it. I can hear it in the background, and enjoy the familiarity, the comfort of it. It is A Room With A View by EM Forster. Say what you may about EM Forster, but I enjoy his books. I can overlook his opinions that I don’t agree with to just enjoy the plot. I’ve read this book multiple times, and I enjoy the movie from time to time. I received it on DVD as a gift for my birthday last year, so now I can just put it in whenever I please.

I recommend this movie highly if you enjoy British period films. Helena Bonhomme Carter plays the principle female role, and there are other British actors that you’ll recognize. My only disclaimer is that it has some brief male nudity that is shot distantly, so it isn’t horribly scandalous. However, once I forgot to mention this to someone when I recommended this movie, and I lived to regret that mistake. Never again.

The Other Thing

The other thing I did today was shop for pants for my eldest son. At the beginning of the school year, a mere 4 months ago, we bought him several pair of school pants and a few pair of jeans. Now, at the halfway point of the school year, he has grown 3 inches! His pants are what we affectionately referred to as “flood pants” in the old days. When he is standing, they rest about a half inch above his high-tops. At his current height, size 18 in boys’ sizes are too short. So, today I went to Old Navy to purchase the smallest waist men’s pants available–28. I am expecting them to be a tad loose at the waist, but hopefully we will no longer have a view of his ankles. He is camping with scouts this weekend, so I have to wait until tomorrow to see if my pants errand was successful. If it was, I will be a devotee of clearance racks at Old Navy. I hardly ever set foot in the store because I can’t really afford clothes from there, but there sale prices were reasonable and the clearance rack was an excellent place for the budget conscious to shop. Mark even scored a pair of pants from the clearance rack and a pair of jeans from the sale selections!

Baedekers included . . . I just threw this in because chapter 2 of A Room with a View is entitled, “In Santa Croce with No Baedeker,” which begs the question, what is a baedeker? If you really want to know, go here.

No TV Tuesdays and Thursdays

I had a brilliant stroke of genius 2 weeks ago. I instigated “No TV Tuesdays” and “No TV Thursdays” for our older kids. This came to me as a way to reduce their coma-inducing television watching that would be relatively painless because on Thursday nights, all 3 have activities outside the house. So, they get home, do homework, eat dinner, and head off to their various activities. So it really only feels like they aren’t allowed to watch TV on Tuesday nights. But the added bonus has been that they are breaking a habit. Last night (Wednesday) they came in from school and started playing a board game with Charis. They didn’t head to the TV as soon as they were through with their homework. On Tuesdays, they have been jumping on the trampoline more. The heatwave of August really had a negative impact on their veiwing habits, so I am pleased with the results of my experiment. It will continue indefinitely.

Juggling and Other News

Today we got some good news.  Last week Mark went through an interview/testing process for a new job.  A little more than a week later, the company called to say he didn’t get the job.  But with the bad news came an offer to do some very regular contract work for the company.  Yes.  It would have been great to get the full-time gig, but we think the part-time contract work will be enough with Mark’s other clients and part-time tutoring for me to quit my part-time job outside our house.

That’s where the juggling comes in–we (especially Mark) will have a lot of balls in the air to juggle.  I am really thankful that I will be able to resign tomorrow.  I am anxious to spend more time with my little blonde girl during her last year before Kindergarten.  I am anxious to come up with excuses other than my job for not getting the laundry done.  We are thankful for all the balls to juggle!

Now, on to other news  . . . Charis started 3 half-days a week of pre-school today.  She was so tired when I picked her up.  She fell asleep in the five minutes between her school and the big kids’ school.  She said she had a good time. She was really glad to be with kids her own age.  We were glad that she could have some real people to play with in addition to  her imaginary friends.

The First Day of School

Today was the first day of school for the three older children at a new school.  There should be pictures to post, but alas, the digital camera’s batteries were dead and we didn’t realize it until we were at the school.  Aargh . . .

 Did we make a smooth transition into our new schedule of getting everyone up and ready and out the door by 7:45?  NO!  Was I stressed and snippy?  YES!  But after we actually got to school, things went better.  Mark and I attended a meeting for middle school students and parents at the beginning of the day.  We are encouraged by the small size of Calvin’s class and the enthusiasm of the teachers.  We are praying for a better year for all the kids, but especially for Calvin.

The reports after school we mostly good.  Calvin tried to think of as many negatives as he could just so we would know who we were dealing with.  Nevin, in his usual Nevin way, reported that school was “fine.”  He likes not wearing a uniform.  (Middle school, BTW, requires a uniform, so Calvin has to keep donning the khakis and polos.)  Evangeline was pleased with her teacher and classmates, but she is feeling a bit overwhelmed at the challenges third grade brings.  She has some focus issues like her big brother, so she will need to be guided a bit to get with the program.

Mark also started a new part-time job tutoring at a local community college.  On Mondays, he’ll be gone for most of the day and evening.  So after school, we headed to the store to stock up on pants for the ever-growing Horne boys.  By the time we got home after a day at work with Charis by my side and shopping for kids’ clohes, I was pretty much spent for the day.

I am glad today is over.  It wasn’t bad, but it took a lot out of all of us.