Have you ever heard the Ray Stevens song "The Day the Squirrel Went Bezerk"?
It tells the story (as many of Ray Stevens' songs do) of a squirrel getting loose in church and wreaking havoc among the churchgoers.
It's very funny.
That is, until something like unto it actually happens to you.
I'm not kidding, and I assure you, not one bit of this is made up.
Last Thursday, we had Cub Scout Pack Meeting.
Stephen had earned his Webelos badge and Arrow of Light before he turned 11 on Aug. 15, so we were excited he would be receiving these awards.
It was to start at 6pm, so it was imperative that we leave home by 5:45pm to get there on time.
All the kids are at the table.
Dinner is underway and we are making progress toward our goal of leaving on time.
I finish my dinner and walk outside for a minute.
Our cat, Orion, is chasing a small rodent-like creature down the edge of the house.
I silently cheer him on and pride myself on having a hunter in the family that rids our home of nasty pests.
I know we're on track for the night, so I am feeling pretty good.
I head back inside, and leave the door open momentarily behind me.
After a minute, I shut the door, and tried to verbally hurry the kids along, telling them they still need to find their shoes and get their hair combed.
"Mom," Emily says, "Orion has a tail hanging out of his mouth."
Orion is inside?
(For the record, he is an inside/outside cat).
I just knew that he had just been chasing a 4 inch rodent outside, and now, he was inside, presumably with WHATEVER that rodent was, IN HIS MOUTH!!
It only took about 2 seconds to connect the dots.
He must have caught the creature and slipped in to share his prize with us before I shut the door.
So, bracing myself for a dead offering, I stooped down to see what kind of carcass I needed to clean up.
All of a sudden I hear,
"HE LET IT GOOOOO!"
"What is it??"
Lo and behold, Orion, brave and mighty cat hunter he is, had grabbed a chipmunk by the tail and brought it, ALIVE, into our home.
So at 5:30pm, chaos ensued.
Every child was screaming or standing on their chair or chasing me to try and see the chipmunk.
I was chasing that dad-gum chipmunk (for about 12 minutes!)
from guest room (where part of the tail actually came off),
to the piano (underneath to boot, so I'm clearing the top of it and trying to move it enough so that Orion can recapture his prey),
to the TV room in a corner,
up underneath the recliner (where he chose to stay for a couple of minutes until I totally tipped over the chair and shook it),
to a newly washed pillowcase next to the couch, in which this little, bleeding-tailed chipmunk buried it's head and half of it's body, trying to find security and peace.
Meanwhile, I'm frantically trying to decide what I can do if I can't get Orion to catch the LOVELY prey he was so anxious to show us.
So the following things are racing through my mind:
Would it be completely stupid to leave a chipmunk in the house when we weren't home?
Where would it hide?
There are lots of places for it to hide for a really long time in my house.
No way, I can't leave a chipmunk unattended, to have free reign in my house while I am gone.
I can just miss Pack Meeting.
No, that won't work, Stephen is getting his awards.
And I'm saying, no, YELLING,
"Get your shoes on, NOW!"
"There's a tail on the floor?! YUCK! Stephen, get a Wal-Mart bag and pick it up with the plastic, BUT DON'T TOUCH IT!"
"Where's Sam?....Emily, GO BUCKLE HIM IN THE VAN!"
"EVERYBODY!! Get your shoes and GO BUCKLE UP!"
"Stop screaming and chasing the chipmunk, GO TO THE VAN, WE NEED TO GO!!"
Once the kids listened and all went to the van, I actually was able to concentrate on the rodent at hand.
When it ran into the wadded up (but clean) pillowcase, I was relived.
It didn't seem to be moving much.
Maybe I could catch it.
Put it in a box or a jar or something.
That is what I would do.
Wait, what if it runs away while I am getting a container?
What if....I just pick up the pillowcase?
That will work.
So I grabbed two edges of the pillowcase, and walked as quickly as possible to the door.
Relieved to be outside, I sighed a huge "Thank You, Lord!", and started to let the chipmunk go.
Then I heard,
"Mom! Can we see it's tail? Where it got bitten off?"
"You caught it! Awesome!"
So after a short show and tell, I let Orion sniff the back of the chipmunk...and the chipmunk literally jumped 18 inches from the pillowcase to the ground a foot away from me and took off, as fast as it could go, Orion on it's heels.
I didn't stay to see the hunt resumed, I just walked to the van and drove away.
Thanking the Lord that I have never had to deal with that before, and praying I will never have to deal with it again, either.
Oh, and just in case you were wondering, they didn't have Stephen's awards ready.
They'll be presenting him with them next month.
At another Pack Meeting.
I'll be praying it a chipmunkless night.
My immediate family of siblings is actually quite small.
I have one brother and one sister.
I also (now that we are all grown and married) have one sister-in-law.
She will celebrate her birthdays this week.
My SIL (of 14 years!!) today.
I just wanted her to know how much I appreciate her as an addition to my family.
She is a good doobie, and has loved us unconditionally.
Kori, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!
You deserve luscious cake, decadent ice cream!
Enjoy your day,
and know we're thinking of you on your day!
Twenty nine years ago today, my "baby" sister was born.
We are almost 6 years apart in age...and her birth was an adjustment for me, I'm sure, although I don't remember it being difficult.
I loved looking at her when she was sleeping.
I loved playing with her.
I actually dropped her on my mouth and loosened one of my front teeth when I was 7.
It was a baby tooth, thank goodness.
One time I pinched her awake from her nap, just because I wanted to play with her.
Six years is a big gap when you are 14 and 8, but I don't feel like there is much of an age gap now.
She is one of my very best friends.
She is also one of my role models.
She's creative, strong in mind and body, and a risk-taker.
I've learned a lot from her.
I hope she has a beautiful birthday.
She has made my life much more joyful, just by being a part of it!
Happy Birthday my sistah!
Question of the day:
(from If...Questions for the Game of Life)
IF you could ensure that your child has one experience that you have had yourself, what would you want it to be?
I know my husband's answer to this would be to have our child(ren) travel outside of the USA.
We have discussed the important changes that such travel can inflict...oh, I mean, instill, upon the travelee.
My international travel consists of one week in Mexico with my Spanish Club when I was 16.
It was eye-opening, but not life changing.
We were too sheltered by our chaperones, and very isolated in regards to interacting with the people of Mexico.
If I could ENSURE one experience that I have had myself?
It would be that my children would first meet, and then marry, their best friend.
While I would be a liar if I said it is never difficult within my marriage, I would also be a liar if I said my marriage was nothing like I imagined it would be.
It is much more than I ever expected, and it brings me great joy.
I was raised in a home where my parent's divorced when I was 7.
Having dated little in high school, I truly believed that I would not marry early, if at all.
I dated 3 guys "seriously" in college.
One I broke up with because our relationship was primarily physical and did not hold promise for the future.
The other one married one of my best friends and truly broke my heart.
After such an emotional experience, I vowed I would focus solely on my schooling, and not seek any romantic relationships at all.
I even wrote myself an extensive note, detailing the importance of finding joy and happiness within myself and not depending on a "guy" for my self-worth.
It was actually a life-changing decision.
At the beginning of the next semester, I (re)met my sweetheart.
(We had met 2 years before at my cousin's Youth Conference, and I had loved joking with him then.)
I had no desire to get romantically involved with anyone, and it just so happened Pat had not gone on his mission yet, so I honestly didn't think twice about him as a romantic interest initially.
He ended up in my Book of Mormon Institute class, and made really insightful comments.
He was still incredibly easy to talk to, and fun to joke with.
He was strongly focused on preparing for his mission, so finding a "girlfriend" wasn't his focus either.
So we became friends.
Really good friends.
And we stayed really good friends for a really long time (in the college dating world!).
It was a great foundation for the love that developed and has continued to develop.
And honestly, it is the one thing I would choose for each of my children to experience:
Finding love within a strong friendship and choosing to have that friendship continue to grow eternally.
I have 2 kids home right now.
I'm not sure what to do.
Bekah is 4, and will go to school next year.
Samuel is 18 months old, and currently my baby.
I haven't had just 2 at home since Thomas was born almost 6 years ago.
I'm a little shocked at that realization.
There's Thomas (left), all ready to leave for school.
He was so excited about his first day today.
He also wanted to make sure I could see his lunchbox, with his very own lunch packed inside, in the background.
His backpack is as big as he is!
Over on the right, he's sitting at his table.
Only half of the class went today.
Half will go tomorrow, which means Thomas stays home one more day.
Wednesday can't come soon enough for him!
Rebekah is 4...and is a ham.
This picture makes me smile every time I see it.
Samuel was truly fascinated with these flowers.
He just entered nursery at church...hip hip hooray!
And Thomas...with a pose he created all by himself!
He's been climbing walls (figuratively)all week, wondering when he gets to go to school.
Whoever came up with the "wonderful" idea to have the kindergarteners start a week later than all of the other kids has not had a 5 year old in their home for a very long time.
Finally, the back to school pictures!
Stephen is on the left. He turned 11 on Tuesday, and started middle school this year.
He's gotten big way too fast.
In the center is Nathan.
He's 7 and in 1st grade. He's had homework every night this week and attacked it with gusto.
I'm hoping that the great attitude sticks!
On the right is Emily, our 9 year old sweetheart.
She's a 4th grader this year, and very happy because she has about 8 friends in her class this year.
She also knows her teacher because Stephen had her in 4th grade too.
Thomas will start kindergarten on Monday, so I will post pictures then!
I've been thinking a lot lately about humility.
Mostly because I have discovered how much of a blessing it is to me.
My heart is so much more tender lately...and it's not just spiritual things that are touching me.
It's just that I FEEL so much more.
Once we started budgeting, it became crystal clear that our money just doesn't stretch as far as we had been assuming it did.
CRYSTALLY, TRANSPARENTLY CLEAR.
For me, I have always vowed, (with a heartfelt, "I'll DIE first" vow), that I would never give ANYONE reason to think that we can not provide for every single one of our children adequately, and completely.
There are a lot of reasons for such a strong vow, but ultimately, what it did was create pride in my heart.
Pride because I COULD provide EVERYTHING for my children.
Even if it meant nothing was getting saved for that emergency just around the corner.
I truly believed that we needed to be moving forward to get out of debt, but it was a difficult job.
Not because we were racking up uncontrollable debt, but because sometimes, our wants were made into our needs.
Movie in the theater? Sure. We've got "extra".
Let's take our kids out to eat. They've helped so much around the house, and they are just GOOD kids.
Let's take that trip to the temple (and go shopping in the process because we only get to the "city" every 3 or 4 months). Surely the Lord will bless us for being faithful, so let's not worry that it costs $150 round trip just to get over there!
Some would argue that these are needs on some level...and I would have agreed with you 3 months ago, but you know what?
My kids are just as happy here, watching a video, WITH treats, spending more quality time with us than being hauled out to a theater where no one can pile under a blanket or cuddle together.
It just takes a little more planning to make a special dinner here, and all of us are more relaxed and talk more easily at home.
As important as temple attendance is, the (financial) windows of heaven are not promised to open if we attend on a specific schedule. In fact, there are many people who are only able to attend once or twice in their lives due to the financial burden it poses to them.
(Lest I be misunderstood on that one, I KNOW that spiritual blessing await us for temple attendance, and I feel INCREDIBLY strongly that you need to make EVERY effort possible to attend the temple as often as possible. Just don't go into debt to do it. If it means going without steak and ice cream, or not doing other things to save up to attend, DO IT, and attend the temple with a clear conscience, knowing your trip has already been paid for.)
Truly, the most humbling thing for me was asking for help with school suppplies.
It sounds too simple.
Not hard at all.
But it was horribly difficult for me.
At Enrichment Night, Emily's teacher was there, and I went up and started talking to her about the new school year.
I mentioned that I would be sending things like ziploc bags, Kleenex and hand soap at a later date, due to the tight budget.
It just so happened that the middle school secretary was also there and overheard my conversation with Sister (Mrs.) Thompson.
So, the secretary asked, "Do you need help with school supplies? If you do, I would be happy to help you."
I stood there, my mind racing, very unsure of how to respond.
Yes, we needed help.
Our supply lists are LONG, and I had a VERY limited budget to buy 4 kiddos school supplies.
But, I didn't want to admit we really did need help.
Because that might be interpeted as me not providing for my family.
And I would DIE before I let someone think that.
So, I gulped, and quietly said,
"That would be wonderful. If you could help Stephen (the middle schooler)...that would be great."
Her response? "Do you need help with the other kid's supplies too?"
Not only do I have to be a little humble, but now I to be REALLY humble.
So, I said,
"I'll look over their lists and let you know when we come in to pick up Stephen's schedule on Thursday."
I knew we needed some supplies for them too, but HEY, old habits die hard!
And you know what, I did take their lists in on Thursday, and she did help us out tremendously!
If I had known what spiritual blessings would be waiting, I might have been more willing to accept the help.
It really did take a leap of faith to let go, but amazingly, I feel more honest, more real than I have felt in a really long time.
And I really value living with integrity and being who I profess to be.
Truly, the tool for these changes was knowledge...on how to control our finances.
And for that, I am truly, eternally grateful, not just for the knowledge that has changed us temporally, but for the actions I have made based on that knowledge that have changed me spiritually.
So, this is the third day, and the third time I've sat down to blog...and today I am not even going to try and post pictures.
No charm here.
It's not Blogger, as I have heard so many complain about... it's just trying to find where those pictures were downloaded to.
I can find them when I am looking for them on the computer, but for some reason, as soon as I try to browse to find the images, they are not where I think they are supposed to be.
Yes, that sounds silly, and for anyone who is computer literate, I am sure you are thinking, "Just write down the 'pathway' and follow it to the image!".
I know, I know, it sounds simple, but truly, it is not that easy! I have followed the "path" and it still hasn't found my image.
So, somewhere, once I locate them, you'll get to see first day of school pictures...and pictures from Stephen's 11th birthday.
It has been a very busy week.
Have you had some lately?
We have been working really hard lately to focus and control our budget.
This is honestly, thanks to Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover.
Dave is a financial counselor and motivational speaker.
He can be heard on the radio and has his own website.
Pat heard him a while ago and was really impressed with his ideas.
We ordered his book, and it literally has changed our lives.
We now know how to budget.
That sounds simple, but it's really not that simple.
It is however, amazing!
We have totally changed our mentality about money...and become much more humble in the process.
I've been much more sensitive to the spirit.
I cry a lot because people are geniunely kind and thoughtful.
I must have been more prideful than I thought.
But you know what?
I am grateful for my own slice of humble pie.
It has tasted really good this time.
And.....our 2 day yard sale was successful beyond our GREATEST hopes! We will pay off our first debt with the proceeds! Thanks to Holly for loaning us her home for 2 1/2 days while we relocated all of our stuff from our country road to the heart of this "city". When you do what the Lord has asked, with a focused effort, BLESSINGS AWAIT!
1/4 c. butter 1 c. flour 1 c. milk 6 eggs, lightly beaten 1/8 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in a medium baking dish. In a medium bowl, mix flour, milk, eggs, and salt. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Bake on the center rack in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until golden brown.
(We double this for our family and there are NEVER leftovers. I actually cook it in a roasting pan larger than a 9x13in pan. It is a very bubbly, yummy, hands-down favorite in this home.)
This is a recipe my sister gave to me after introducing me to the most addictive muffins I've ever eaten. Funny, cause they are actually pretty healthy. They just taste GOOD.
OVERNIGHT OATMEAL MUFFINS
1 c. regular oats 2 c. low fat buttermilk (or non-fat milk with 2 squeezes of lemon) 1 2/3 c. whole wheat flour 3/4 c. dark brown sugar, packed 2 T. light olive oil 1 tsp. baking powder 1 tsp. baking soda 1. tsp salt 2 large eggs, lightly beaten (or 1 egg and 2 egg whites) 2/3 c. dried blueberries (or milled flax seed)
Combine oats and buttermilk in a medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight (few hours at least). Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spoon flour into measuring cups, level with a knife. Place buttermilk mixture, flour, and next 6 ingredients (flour through eggs) in a large bowl. Beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Fold in blueberries (or other fruit). (My sister just used the flax seed and no fruit). Spoon a 1/4 c. batter into each of 18-20 muffin cups coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until muffins spring back in the center. Remove muffins from pans immediately. Place on wire rack to cool.
My husband said these taste just like "Quick brown bread". If you grew up with that, you'll know what that means!
I saw this on Ramblings of an Insecure Genius and thought it looked like fun.
1. FIRST NAME? Kristine
2. WHO WERE YOU NAMED AFTER? No one really, which has led to an absolute need to name all of my children after someone.
3. WHEN DID YOU LAST CRY? Today when a friend told me she was moving.
4. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? Yes, a lot actually, when I take the time to make it nice and not scribbled.
5. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCHMEAT? turkey
6. KIDS? I have 6, planning on at least 1 more
7. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOURSELF? I think so, although I might be a little frustrated with how busy I was.
8. DO YOU HAVE A JOURNAL? Yes, but for now this is it.
9. DO YOU USE SARCASM A LOT? Yes, often
10. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS? yes
11. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? maybe, depending on the day
12. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL? Granola with almonds
13. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF? No, my shoes don't have laces.
14. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? I think I am getting strengthened more than I think I am strong.
15. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM? Cookies and Cream and Sara Lee Strawberry Cheesecake. Ben and Jerry's CC cookie dough and Chocolate Fudge Brownie rate pretty high up there too.
16. SHOE SIZE? 10 or 11
17. RED OR PINK? Red
18. WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING YOU LIKE ABOUT YOURSELF? Currently, my weight.
19. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? My sister, and my friend Susan.
20. DO YOU WANT PEOPLE COMMENT ON THIS OR SEND IT BACK TO YOU? Yes
21. WHAT COLOR PANTS AND SHOES YOU ARE WEARING RIGHT NOW? Jeans, barefoot.
22. LAST THING YOU ATE? S'more glops as my kids named them. A new recipe I tried today.
23. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW--My daugther, Bekah, singing what she and her siblings have decided goes through Samuel's head when he is quiet.
24. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE? periwinkle
25. FAVORITE SMELL? lilacs and orange blossoms
26. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE? My honey, on his way home.
27. THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE YOU ARE ATTRACTED TO? Personality and aura.
28. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON WHO SENT THIS TO YOU? It wasn't sent to me, I found it.
29. FAVORITE DRINK? water
30. FAVORITE SPORT? Swimming
31. HAIR COLOR? Brown with some reddish highlights right now
32. EYE COLOR: Hazel (blue/green)
33. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS? sometimes
34. FAVORITE FOOD? Mexican
35. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDING? Happy ending with some kind of suspense in the middle
36. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED? Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. For the first time since I saw it in the theatre. I thought it was really intense.
37. WHAT COLOR SHIRT ARE YOU WEARING? Navy
38. SUMMER OR WINTER? winter
39. HUGS OR KISSES? kisses on the cheek
40. FAVORITE DESSERT? Good, quality cheescake
41. WHO IS MOST LIKELY TO RESPOND? I'm not sure in this format
42. LEAST LIKELY TO RESPOND? See answer #41
43. WHAT ARE YOU READING? Winter Wheat and a couple on writing articles
44. WHAT'S ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? I don't have a mouse pad
45. WHAT DID YOU WATCH LAST NIGHT ON TV? I didn't watch, I had an Enrichment committee meeting that lasted most of the night.
46. FAVORITE SOUNDS? My children's laughter.
47. ROLLING STONES OR BEATLES? Beatles
48. THE FURTHEST YOU BEEN FROM HOME? Mexico
49. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT? I love to make cards.
50. WHEN AND WHERE WERE YOU BORN? September 28 , Early '70's and in Eastern AZ
Real mail rocks. E-mail is lovely too. I used to frequent the Hallmark in my college town so much that I was offered the "gold card". It allowed me to earn free cards. I loved it. I sent the people I loved cards every chance I could get, birthdays, holidays, and just because. I don't do that any more. Mostly because I don't have the patience to browse the card section any more. It's hard to find that "perfect" card with children in tow. I think that is why I make cards now. Because even though typically, there isn't a written sentiment, the fact that I made it with my own hands conveys that I really care. My challenge to you today: Take the time to let someone important to you know you care!
We had a wonderful visit with the last of our summer company!
Grandma and Grandpa John enjoyed the kids, and we enjoyed every minute they were here.
Grandpa, Pat and the kids hiked up to our "new home site" (maybe, someday, if we can ever buy the land) and took pictures of the view.
I really hope "someday" I can look out my front window and see what is in those pictures at the top of my post.
At just about everything today.
My Samuel has thrown things from the counter about 8 times, including a plate with a cake on it.
My Thomas (remember he's almost 6), has thrown a fit about lunch, 3 times.
My other kids are begging about just about everything.
I made a call to AAA....and am still waiting for a return call from them.
I know I'm not the only one who has days like this.
I haven't been ready for school to start, but today, it would be a relief.
Yesterday at noon I watched the news just to double check that our yard sale wasn't going to get drenched. The 24 hour forecast showed our county entirely covered in yellow (severe rain). The ENTIRE county. Completely yellow. So, I called off the yard sale. We have a lot of furniture that we didn't want to ruin in the rain. Know what? It's sunny this morning. When, from 6 am to noon was COMPLETELY yellow on the forecast yesterday. Nice. Maybe I won't watch the news next weekend.
I called Qwest today, ready to chew out whoever answered the phone. I was MAD. Madder than I have been in a really long time. It was 10 after 12, and the phone repairman had again, not shown up in the time stated. We had gone without service from last Sunday until last Friday, and then lost service again on Sunday. A grand total of 10 days without full phone service.
Within a minute of being on the phone, Melinda had not only reassured me that she would help this problem be resolved in a positive manner, she also hung up and called me back twice so that she wouldn't use up my sacred Tracfone minutes keeping me on hold. (That was actually HUGE to me!) She tracked down the repairman, gave me a timeline for the repair today, and gave me a credit on my account for the "service" this month. To cinch the deal, we had an enjoyable conversation and she ended it by giving me a contact e-mail to reach her *if* any the problems resurface.
She should teach others how to give great customer service! She made my day! Thanks Melinda!
My friend Holly showed up yesterday afternoon with two big bags of plums she had gotten from a lady she visit teaches. I've never really been fond of store bought plums, so much so, I don't think my kids have ever even tried one. WELL, we've already downed one Wal-Mart bagful, and are starting on our second bagful. They are EXCELLLENT and very more-ish.
It has been raining for 4 days in this drought-stricken desert land of ours. 4 straight days, with little or no sun peeking through. It is supposed to rain again today, but right now, the sun is shining! (The constant rain has actually created major flooding issues...and we have a flood advisory in effect all day long today too.) The crazy thing is that it is supposed to rain all the rest of the week. I am grateful for the moisture...but not so much for the mud.
Cleaning You mean it's actually not completely out of my realm to clean? Holy heck...she can be motivated and taught! Things actually look pretty decent.
Yard Sale? So, against my former oath to myself that "I WILL NEVER, EVER IN MY WHOLE ENTIRE LIFE SPEND ANY TIME AND ENERGY ON A YARD SALE!!", I am officially trying (along with help and support from some others) to bust a hole in our "financial logjam" and make a little extra to pay down debt. We've set the days for this Fri. and Sat., so pray for sunny mornings.
Last but not Least I missed blogging! I hope you missed me too! Cheerio!