More From the Ellie (and Emma) Chronicles

As is often the case, a couple of these stories are old hat to our Facebook friends, but they must be recorded for posterity.

While trick-or-treating through the neighborhood on Halloween, Matt and the girls approach the home of one of our neighbors.  They are a couple about my parents’ age and they are hosting two exchange students this year.  As one of the foreign girls opens the door, Ellie declares, “Oh look!  It’s the maid!”

Another time recently, Ellie and her sisters had destroyed their room.  Their consequence was to get up early before Friday classes to clean it up so that they could go skating after classes that afternoon.  At 4 a.m., as Matt and I were getting up, we hear a door open down the hall and little feet shuffling toward us.  Ellie comes in all squinty-eyed with her blanket up by her face and groans, “I can’t clean.  It’s too dark!”

Lastly, we were out to dinner recently as a family.  We were trying to broaden the girls’ horizons a bit, so we opted for a Chinese restaurant for dinner instead of our standard Mexican fare.  Emma had gone to use the restroom and was gone a ridiculously long time.  The bathroom was just a few feet from our table and it was a “one holer”, so to speak, so I was confident nothing questionable was going on.  Another woman was waiting outside the door for her chance to use the bathroom so I send another child to tell Emma to hurry up.  She finally joins us back at the table going on and on about this (very normal) bathroom.  After her lengthy description of all its details she looks at her hands and exclaims, “Wait!  Why did I wash my hands?  I didn’t even go!” and then excuses herself to go do what she forgot to do the first time.  🙂

Life is never boring!

For His Glory ~

~ Sara


For Posterity

Matt took the youngest out to breakfast at the local farmer’s market this morning.  Ellie is never without something to say, and typically what comes out of her mouth is laugh out loud funny.  He posted these quotes to Facebook this morning, so if you’ve already seen them I apologize for the redundancy, but I haven’t done a good job of chronicling her humor lately and these are too good to forget…

I don't even know what this face is about.

  • “I don’t think I’ll ever go on a diet, but I might get fat and go on The Biggest Loser.”
  • “Dad, were you 1/2 bald when you were a kid?  ‘Cause you’re all the way bald now.”
  • “Dad, did you know that you are made out of atoms?  Your hat, your arms, your head….even your poop has atoms.”
  • “Dad, just ’cause we fight over them sometimes, does NOT mean Satan made balloons.”

What happens when Ellie dresses herself.

Happy Saturday, everyone!  May your day be laugh out loud funny too.

~ Sara

Second Chances

It happens nearly every time and so I shouldn’t be surprised by it and yet it never fails to catch me off guard.  The promise of a day off, plans to enjoy time together, relaxing, fellowshipping as family and the Enemy he wastes no time in inserting himself and turning it all upside down.

All week we have waited for today.  I had scheduled off Valentine’s Day in our school year, but with the promise of 70+ degrees on Thursday, we held off.  A day to sleep in a bit and then be outside, we long for the feel of the warm, moist air on our faces, arms.

But within moments of being up, the bickering begins.  Trivial annoyances, whining, and oh why today?  They go outside and two children decide it will be a good idea to take the dog up to the second floor of the playhouse.  Dog who does not go up stairs, except the few between the door and the yard, they take her up a tiny ladder that my adult frame can barely maneuver.  And when it’s time to go to the zoo and the library I learn of their scheme and now they can’t get her down.  Of course.  So I must wrestle 50 pound beast, her body stiff but trembling, my blood pressure rising by the moment.  And my flesh breaks loose.  I restrain my volume, but my displeasure is clear, and Satan has triumphed in the moment.

And the image is funny to me now; the wrestling of the dog, and wondering how they got her up there in the first place.  And how excited they surely were at their plan.

But we raise them to mature and to think rationally and then they catch me completely off guard with something so ridiculous.  And I know it’s what I do too.  With words, with money, with impulsive decisions….I do ridiculous things.

So how do we beat him at his game?  Satan, this enemy of our souls, that wears us down and then knocks us off our feet.  Prayer.  Grace.  Second chances.

Right now I am hiding in husband’s office.  Typing out my frustrations, my heart.  The blood pressure has returned to (almost) normal.  We will try again.  We still have an afternoon before us before we have to go to ballet.  The girls and I, we will hug one another and laugh, and trust the Lord to redeem this day.

And, hopefully, we’ll learn never to take the dog up to the second floor of the playhouse again.  😉

Blame Shifting

So, this was my Facebook status at one point yesterday…

Sara….is wondering if, the next time a certain child of mine sees a new housing development and mourns the loss of the trees, I should point out that she and her sisters have probably decimated a small forest with all the paper dolls they’ve been making this week?

Last night, Matt made a comment along these lines to said children and the oldest replies, surprisingly quickly, “Well, it’s Mom’s fault, since she won’t recycle paper.”  😮

Snow Days

I think I’m officially over winter.  Actually, I’m not minding winter (all that much), but I think I’m over snow days.  At least for a while.  Maybe I’ll be ready for one again about the end of February.  But in the past three weeks, we’ve been snowed in twice for three days in a row.  I’m typically all for breaks in the activity schedule, but I think we’d all like some routine back.  AND TO GET OUT OF THIS HOUSE!  May have something to do with the fact that I was home alone with the children for ten days just last week….

Also, I’ve been wearing two pairs of socks AND my Ugg boots.  And my feet are still freezing.

This is what I think of ol’ man winter right now:


Come on Spring!!!

Change of Plans

Another night…another post that isn’t what I had planned.  But isn’t that life?  That some things just don’t go as planned?

I did not plan on having this day with my children.  I didn’t plan on my agitation increasing as the day wore on and finding them wriggling further and further under my sensitive skin.  I didn’t plan on attitude and outbursts and losing my own temper and behaving in ways I certainly would never allow from them. And rather than the hand of correction, I must bear the weight of my own guilt and shame and physical punishment seems it would be easier to bear.

I didn’t plan on having to keep my five year old home from ballet because she would refuse to do her school.  I didn’t plan on having to do school on Friday, a day we typically reserve for outside classes or other fun stuff.

But that’s the day I got.  From God or from Satan or just from our own sinful hearts, and we found ourselves at four o’clock worn out and wounded by the day and by each other.  And I found myself at the cross, asking forgiveness.  Again.

I sat them down and repented.  I asked their forgiveness for my own sin and spoke to them about what theirs had been.  We agreed to start fresh now and work for a better day tomorrow.  And then I hugged them.  And all the stress and frustration and irritation started to melt away.

Why is it I never think to do that when I am angry and when their behavior cries out for it?  Lord, help me to draw them close when I want to push them away.  Help me to hug them as often as I feed them* and remind them often throughout the day of my love for them.  Only by your grace can I do this thing called parenting.

Tonight, the oldest is at ballet.  Matt and the middle two are Christmas shopping.  And I am home with Ellie, helping her wrap the gifts she has thoughtfully chosen for her sisters and her daddy.  And we have a very entertaining conversation….

Me: Ellie, what are you getting me for Christmas? 

Ellie: I’m getting you a dinosaur.

Me: A dinosaur? Really? What will I feed it?

Ellie: Well, if it’s a carnival, you’ll have to feed it plants.

Me: Oh yeah?

Ellie: Yeah. Like those ant-eater ones.

Me: You mean a Venus Fly Trap?

Ellie: Yeah. And you’ll have to train it to catch a ball and stuff.

Me: Yeah.  😛

And I laugh so hard on the inside that I want to cry.  No longer tears of self-pity or frustration, but tears of delight at the gift God has given me in these children, in this daily living alongside them.

May your evening be filled with laughter and joy tonight.

~ Sara

*another Ann Voskamp treasure @A Holy Experience

Summer Fun Lists – A Retrospective

Well, with summer officially ending on Thursday, it’s probably time to look back on how we did with some of our summer goals.  First, the Summer Fun List.  Later this week, my summer reading list.

This was the first year we tried a summer fun list.  Some of the goals were pretty crazy, some were quite manageable.  I will defend myself up front by saying this was one of the hottest, most oppressive summers I can remember.  I love, love, LOVE hot weather, and even I couldn’t go outside for more than a few minutes some days.  I remember texting friends with whom we had swim dates and saying “I think it’s actually too hot even to swim.”  It was that hot.  So, a lot of things that may have gotten marked off during a “normal” Kansas summer, just didn’t this year.  Making the list was fun, nonetheless, and we’ll definitely do it again next summer.

So here’s what the girls put on their lists: (Items accomplished are marked through; my commentary is in parentheses)

  • swimming – a lot!
  • have a friend sleep over (I’m a deadbeat for not making this one happen; summer just got too busy 😦 )
  • watch movies as a family
  • go to a park
  • camp for three days (here’s where the obscene heat comes in handy as a good excuse)
  • go to an actual beach (technically, this would only qualify for Grace, and that’s only if you call Lake Michigan going to a “real” beach)
  • go to a swim park/sprinkler park (none here in town; never made it out of town to find one 😦 )
  • buy a play set (Really?!?!  Perhaps these children haven’t noticed the miniature size of our backyard.)
  • buy flowers for the girls (Should have made this one happen.  Such a simple thing to do!)
  • have parades
  • get a drum set and take lessons (I’m not even going to apologize that this didn’t happen; I’m no dummy!)
  • read The Sign of the Beaver
  • have a friend over to play
  • go to Colorado
  • read
  • have lots of fun
  • go to Mexico (what can I say?  My kids like to travel and they have really good ideas for destinations!)
  • go swimming with Coco the Labradoodle (three words why this didn’t happen:  wet dog smell)
  • re-organize bedroom
  • go running with Coco (technically this one happened, but only with me.  Who wants to run with four kids and a spastic dog???)
  • go North to see our favorite goat farmers
  • walk with Coco (see the spastic dog reference above)
  • go to San Diego (again with the travel)
  • bike rides
  • concert in the park
  • dinner on the patio at our favorite Mexican restaurant
  • hollow an egg

That’s our Summer Fun List review.

Did you set any goals for this summer?  Were you able to meet them?

In other news, I had (as usual) an entertaining conversation with Ellie this weekend…

Ellie (as she’s putting old birthday cards into her purse):  I’m going to keep getting birthday cards until I’m twenty.

Me:  Why only until you’re twenty?

Ellie:  Because then I’ll probably die.

Me:  Why?!?!

Ellie:  Because I’ll be an ooooold granny. (with much emphasis on “old”)


Have a great Tuesday, friends!

For His Glory ~

~ Sara

Which Half?

Last week I started reading what may be my all-time favorite book to the girls – Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls.  The memories I have reading that book over and over and over again.  *sigh*

At one point in the first few chapters there is mention of a mule.  Ellie interrupts my reading, “Excuse me, Mommy, what is a mule?”  “It’s half horse, half donkey, Ellie.”  “What half do you think is the horse and what half do you think is the donkey, Mommy?”  Using every ounce of restraint I have, I respond, “I don’t know, Ellie.  What do you think?”  Very serious now, she replied, “I think the front half is the horse and the back half is the donkey.”

That’s my girl.

Strange Products….

Can someone please tell me why we need this?

It’s a touch-less soap dispenser.  My girls are convinced we need one.  Because the soap dispenser is germ-y.  But you’re going to wash your hands…. I respond.  Yeah, but the pump in the bathroom gets so dirty from everyone’s hands, they chirp.  But you’re going to wash your hands, I respond again.  And this is in our bathroom.  In our home.  We all share germs as it is.  What does it matter if the soap dispenser has germs on it.  The soap dispenser that you are using to dispense soap into the hands that you are going to proceed to wash said soap (and germs) off of.

Does anyone else see how silly this product is?  Or is it just me?