Friday, May 27, 2011

Journal Snapshots ~ Spring 2011

Hello Family, Friends, and die-hard Shull Family Fans everywhere . . . it's time for another episode of Journal Snapshots!  An insider's look at the more lighthearted moments in our household, at least from my point of view.  


In honor of the three distinct illnesses which have invaded our home, we are taking a holiday from school.

Enjoyed a breakfast birthday party for our newest sweet teenager, Lydia, who is turning 13 today! What a blessing to have her as a daughter... much joy for this mother to watch her children unfold and blossom like flowers in the springtime, to see more and more the uniqueness and beauty in each one.

Just sorted Mt. Washmore with the help of the three amigos. Turns out doing the laundry is a lot more fun when wrestling, giggling, and tug-o-war is involved. Who knew?

A bit annoyed that my middle-aged eyes required me to get my reading glasses before I could help Jonathan, I sat back down with a sigh. Jon lifted up my chin and looked at me seriously. Thinking he'd find it funny to see me in glasses (which I don't usually wear), I was prepared for anything but what he said, "Hmm, you look real pretty."

The birds are singing Springtime songs . . . choosing to see the sunshine and ignore the snow.

The third time the boys spilled through the door to the living room, laughing and tussling like a pile of puppies, it finally caught my attention. "What on earth are you guys doing?!?"
     Nat popped up and grinned, "What? Oh! We're cleaning."

Mud Season 101: The brown stuff that is appearing in spots as the snow melts is called "the ground." No, you can't change your clothes every time you get a teaspoon of mud on your jeans. Note: Although 40 degrees feels "so hot", as long as there is ice in the yard, its best not to go barefoot.

Signs that your child will grow up to have a cleaner house than they grew up in. You say "Hey, let's clean up your room a bit." (ie. put a few toys away) they say "Oh yeah! Let's pull out the extra mattress out from under the bed, get all the toys out from there, find the legos and vacuum under there!" Oh. I guess that is a good idea, Sam.

Kevin, to a dramatically crabby Ruthie after she was untimely waked from a nap in the van on the way home from church . . . (spoken quite cheerfully), "Boy, Ruthie, you sure are whiney . . . did you get up on the wrong side of the carseat?"

I just heard Nat humming that ol' preschool favorite... "If You're Happy and You Know It, Clap Your Hands." Then he stopped and turned to me, "Well, I'm happy... but I'm not sure I know it."

Proof-reading Grace's BU application today. It is sweet to read her essays and glimpse the heart of emerging womanhood. Joining the chorus of mothers across time and space saying "Wow, the days may be long, but the years fly by."

If our long driveway gets any muddier, I think we may need to install a chair lift to get to the house and just park out on the road. Either that or install monster truck tires on the van.

Happy kids playing outside on this early Spring day has provided time for a much needed attempt to conquer Mt. Washmore. Though it occurs to me, as I look at the kids in all their muddy glory upon the return from their adventures, that this was perhaps a counter productive laundry strategy.

Story writing in the field. Reading on the deck. Tadpole and frog egg hunting coming up, as the sound of frogs a courtin' are ringing in the neighborhood. Brothers playing baseball and basketball and getting math done with greatest speed. Collecting maple sap with Mr. Friend. Homeschool in the Springtime.

Oh, dear. I've convinced a sweet editor that an idea I have for a new article is "pure gold." Now they want to see a first draft. Unfortunately, I'm having trouble actually getting my idea out of my head and down on paper. Perhaps I'm distracted by the words "Writing" and "Easy as Pie" in the working title.

Kevin surprised me by instantly appearing with a load of firewood when I just casually mentioned it would be nice to have a fire in the fireplace. When I thanked him, he smiled "Your wish is my command . . . when I feel like it." Ah, yes, an honest Prince Charming.

Jon did not understand why we were all insisting he come inside and change his clothes again. His first selection of a new outfit after his play clothes were drenched from top to bottom in the big mud puddle? Red pajama pants and a nice dressy red sweater vest (no shirt underneath) - both inside out. And last year's green flip flops.

You know you're talking to a country girl when you say . . .
     "Hold still! There's a tick crawling on your neck!"
           And she smiles and replies, "Oh, good! A sign of Spring!"

Psalm 1, "Blessed is the man... his delight is in the law of the Lord and on this law he meditates day and night." Just pondering - That word we translate as blessed . . . we don't actually have a word that means what the original language means . . . divine joy and perfect happiness ? Pierced with godlike joy? O brain cloud, fly away so that I may abide in the Word, in Jesus, this week leading up to Resurrection Sunday.

Jon was sticking his tongue out in various directions and making hilarious, cartoon-like faces as he tried out different positions. Kevin asked him if his tongue tasted good, and he nodded 'yes' and continued to move his tongue around with comedic charm. After watching him for a few moments, Kevin asked, “Well . . . what’s it taste like?”
     Jon stopped and thought for a moment before replying seriously, “Fresh toast!”

Today at breakfast I mentioned, "Well, the royal wedding is tomorrow."
Jonathan nearly fell off his stool with excitement as he thought I was talking about a wedding in which he will be the ring bearer (in a few more weeks). First, he was happy that "the wedding" is tomorrow, and secondly... discovering that his cousin (the bride) is a princess was quite surprising.

The older kids got up as planned at 4am this morning to watch the royal wedding. Dad surprised them (and me) by obtaining and setting out English tea, shortbread, English chocolates, English muffin, proper toast, (donuts, too!) AND by getting up to join them (while I slept in 'til 8). My own Prince Charming!

Me: "Hurry up and go outside or the sun will go down!"
     A smiling teenager: "Wow Mom, good job figuring out a way to keep the sun from setting!"

Me, calling from the bathroom: "Jon, come brush your teeth!"
     Jon, from his bedroom:"I did!"
           Me:"Your toothbrush isn't wet."
He dashes into the bathroom, picks up his toothbrush, gets it wet with running water, gives it a little shake, touches it to make sure it is wet and puts it back in the cup before dashing back to his bedroom! Um... nevermind.

Happy Birthday to our beautiful Esther Rose! A spectacular bike wipe-out this morning (which destroyed a pair of pants and required much cleansing and an impressive bandage) has most likely provided a scar to commemorate her 10th birthday for years to come. Happy Birthday sweet Essie!

Me: "How about we have a new law, Thou Shalt Not Drop Things on the Floor and Leave Them Where They Lie."
      Essie: "Wow, there's going to be a lot of crimes around here!"

Exciting News! Grace got an acceptance letter from BU for the PSEO program in the mail today! Somehow this makes me feel like singing Tangled's "When Will My Life Begin..." in her honor.

Thinking through pre-registration for BU.
Me: "Ok, for electives, think of what sounds most interesting and fun without worrying about heading for degree requirements." (I'm thinking photography, bowling, underwater basket weaving, etc).
Grace, thinking for a few moments: "Well, I don't know . . . sometime I'd really like to take genetics."

Oh my. 18 inches of standing water in the basement. Looks like flotsam and jetsam down there. SuperDad is on his way home. In the meantime, pump is off so no water in the house and we'll have to turn off all the house electricity to go down there. Water table flooding or pipe break?

It's a true flood from the rising water table in our neighborhood. Our 88-year-old neighbor, Mr. Friend, says it's never been this high before. Power still off.  Learned about generators and powerful rental pumps. We got it pumped out and it is rising again from the floor up. Still much to figure out, lots of ruined junk, trying to save many bins of wet clothes that floated and tipped over. Hoping the furnace and water heater are not ruined. Pumping out one more time, then sleep.

Turns out there are a limited number of times you can turn off a main breaker before it needs to be replaced. Power and water from our electric well pump back on now.  Plus we met a nice electrician.

Today: SuperDad to install new sump pump, restore hot water (if hot water heater is OK), throw away junk, dry clothes to save them, return rented generator and pump. Bonus: piano lessons, lib. books due, and 4H dog training. Realized last night Kevin was "this close" to being in Singapore this week. So thankful he is home!

Hot water's back! Now to wash the flooded clothing we dried outside on the old wash lines. Looks like a poor quality yard sale on the front lawn with everything out of the basement. The furnace had important parts submerged so that is not looking good. Many mercies: glorious cool sunny weather, friends praying and bringing dinner, several important things were above water, good excuse to throw away junk, etc!

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. --James 1:2-3

It's a little-known fact that the traditional gift for a 22nd anniversary is a sump pump. Thankful to be celebrating 22 years of marriage through floods and fair weather!

                                            ~to be continued!

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Treasure from the Junk Drawer
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