My Phone Doesn’t Swim

As I was making dinner the other evening, the Princess came in carrying my cell phone.

“Mom, you need a new phone.  I was using it to watch Underdog in the bathroom and I dropped it in the toilet.  What should I do with it?”

Ugh.  My head started spinning with thoughts of a dead cell phone, all the while, adding ingredients to this-and-that and stirring whatever was on the stove.  “Um…just put it on the table.” I said distractedly.  And she did.

It wasn’t until a moment later that the thought hit me…was the water in the toilet clean or did the phone fall in pre-flush.  After consulting with my daughter, my worst fears were confirmed.  The phone fell into contaminated toilet water and now sat on my kitchen table.

“Oh…”  was all I could say.

After taking care of the cooking meal to insure the house didn’t catch on fire, I did what any normal woman would do.  I posted about it on Facebook.

I have often heard that when a cell phone gets submerged in water you should put it in a bag of rice to dry it out, so I did.  But that still didn’t ease my mind about the fact that my phone had been in unclean water.  I wasn’t sure if I even wanted to touch it again with my hands, let alone have my face against it.  My Facebook friends (when they were done laughing) were generous with suggestions on how to get the phone dry, but none offered suggestions of how to decontaminate the phone.

After the rice immersion, a wiping down with a Clorox cloth and a couple of days of charging, I have determined the phone to be dead.  Although, I wonder if there is something more than moisture being the demise of my cellular connective device.  As I was reinstalling the battery, I noticed rice stuck in the innards of my phone.  I was able to use a toothpick and pry out the rice I could see, but I wondered if I got it all.  Could a rogue grain of rice and/or rice dust have infiltrated the inner workings of my phone and been the real cause of death?  I recently heard that if Abraham Lincoln had been shot today, modern medicine could have easily saved him.  His death, most likely, occurred because the doctor who treated him stuck his finger in the head wound and fished around for the bullet, but that was the best way he knew to treat the situation.  Could this rice remedy be the doctor’s finger to my phone?  This was the only way I knew to treat the situation, but it ended up being the dead.

Or maybe it was the water.  Or maybe it hit the porcelain potty too hard.  I guess I’ll never know.  What I do know is that I won’t be putting that icky thing against my face.

The Princess was right.  Mom needs a new phone!  And it won’t be used in the bathroom by a seven year-old.



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Happy Monday

It started out as one of those mornings.  Busier than usual.  It was picture day for the two oldest kids so there was extra activity.

Mom, the hair stylist:  “Mom, will you help me with my hair?”  I expected this, as it is a common request.

Mom, the fashion police:  “What are you going to wear, son?”

“The clothes I wore to church yesterday.”

“You mean the ones wadded up in the dirty clothes?”

“Oh…I guess not…:

(Being somewhat fashionably challenged, although, he is getting better, I don’t mind helping pick out another shirt.)

Mom, the bill payer:  “Can someone bring me the laptop so I can pay for the school pictures online?”

Mom, the nurturer:  “Mommy, I can’t go to school.  I have the hiccups and it makes my throat hurt.”  (hug, hug, kiss, etc.)

Mom, the realist:  “You’ll be fine.  Just go drink a big glass of water.  If it still hurts, we can give you some Tylenol.”

Mom, the supporter:  “Mom, the choir fundraiser is due today and I only need to sell one more thing to meet my quota.”  (*sigh*…I was just thinking to myself how I really, really needed some overpriced cookie dough.)

Mom, the pet owner:  “Somebody, please let the dog out before he has an accident.”

Mom, the taxi driver:  “Load up!  Time to go!  We don’t want to be late!  Hurry up!”

And we were off.  Everyone was dropped of at school on time, with instructions to smile pretty for the camera and to have a great day.  The quietness of the empty van was broken by a big, long sigh.  As I drove home, I reflected on how blessed I am.  Sure, it was another busy, crazy morning (like happens in many houses) and I am thankful for those who make it so, but I was looking forward to just going home and collapsing for a bit and having a few moments of alone time before I started on the housework.

However. upon opening the door to the house, I was reminded of one more little blessing waiting for me, running in circles, wagging his little nubbin of a tail.  I still collapsed on the couch for a few moments, but I wasn’t alone.  Mr. K was soon crawling over me covering my face in doggy kisses.  Not how I anticipated spending this time, but I enjoyed it.  Until I got a dog tongue up my nose.

Now it’s time to get working.  What are your Monday plans?


Mom & Mr. K

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A Computer Warning

Recently, some important-sounding organization, governmental agency, and/or university study released this statement:


I apologize for not being able to recite the exact quotation, nor attribute it to the correct author (OK, it was me), but I seriously believe this.  With all the fiber of my being, I believe that the majority of my computer issues, frustrations, and cursing would cease if we didn’t have computers in the house.  Just like parenting would be much easier if it weren’t for these darn kids.

The latest hair-pulling situation comes courtesy of our dilapidated laptop-turned-desktop.  This poor laptop computer had been abused so much (carried around open) that the hinge went bad and now is in a permanently open position on a desk, NEVER to be moved (or you may result physically harmed) thus rendering it now a desktop computer.  This poor, lowly, beat-up computer wants nothing more than to please its people, but, alas, it is having recharging issues.  Despite being plugged in and having plenty of time with Thomas Edison Juice, it just went kaput.  RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF A GILMORE GIRLS MARATHON!  Given the precious nature of its use, I suspect sabotage.  Someone doesn’t want me lounging about watching Netflix when I should could be doing dishes, laundry, mowing, etc., etc., etc.

Another problem with laptops is that they are mobile.  I went in search of another laptop so I could finish watching my Gilmore Girls episode but I couldn’t find it.  I tried looking in the usual locations — the boys’ room, the girls’ room — to no avail.  Maybe one of them hid it, which has happened before.  By hiding the computer, they think they can then have priority when they get home.  Silly, silly children.  Have you forgotten our no-screens after school rule?  Now, dear children, you are just frustrating your mother, which is NOT good.  Unless…maybe they are the saboteurs, thinking that if Mom doesn’t have access to computers they will have a homemade meal!

Well, well, little devious offspring, I have two words for you:  Kindle & cellphone.  Ha ha!  You can’t keep me from my technology addiction!  I still have ways to Facebook and stuff!  In fact, I am going to go crush some candy right now!  And as for dinner tonight….PB&J!  Again!!!!!

Computers may cause woe, but there are ways to deal with it.


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Come Back, Summer!

y kids have been back in school for a week.  Their first day was August 5.  That is waaaayyy too early, in my opinionand the opinions of many others)  It seems like they just got out for the summer, yet, here they go again.

I know the perception of summer vacation being too short is not new, especially among students (and teachers)  We didn’t get to do this and that!  We didn’t get to go there!  We won’t be able to sleep in anymore.  Etc., etc., etc.

This year in particular, I am sad to see the kids go back to school.  Why?  BECAUSE THEY ALL GOT ALONG!  Yes, for some odd, yet welcome reason that I cannot explain, my children got along very well this summer.  Fighting, bickering, and yelling were kept to a minimum.  They did things with each other both in the house and out of the house.  They went to see movies together.  VOLUNTARILY!  I dared not speak aloud of this curious turn of events for fear I would jinx the calmness and serenity that had come over our home.  Not every moment was peaceful, but overall I was pleasantly surprised.

However, school has started.  The early morning rush and fight for the one-and-only bathroom in our house has taken its toll and tempers have risen, along with voices.  Fingers have been pointed and blame has been placed followed by retaliating words and glares.  Hopefully, we can work through this within the next few weeks and get back to the harmonious days of summer.  At least before all the extra-curriculars start.



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May Madness

I am beginning to resent the month of May, and that’s a scary thought.  May is full of wonderful, beautiful things.  The birds are singing, the sun is shining, flowers are blooming, the temperature is nice…it’s really quite lovely.  May is full of celebrations, too.  My birthday is in May, as is my husband’s, my youngest daughter’s, and my father’s.  And of course, Mother’s Day!

So why am I harboring less-than-joyful feelings for my once-favorite month?  Because May has become so stinkin’ busy!

Our weekly schedule if full already, but when you add all the extras that May brings, it gets completely crazy!  We have had multiple choir competitions, skit squad performances, academic competitions, the school carnival, an overnight 6th grade trip, 4-H meetings, miscellaneous doctors appointments, picture day for dance, field trips, and extra practices and rehearsals for some of these special events.  Tonight is the Spring concert for our elementary school.  We have one more week of school and it is filled with more field trips and awards ceremonies to attend.  All of this, on top of the regular scouts, dance, etc. leads to one stressed out Mama and one extremely cluttered home.

I always think things will be better when school gets out for the summer.  However, the summer schedule fills up quickly.  But if I don’t cling to that little hope of having a slowed-down, carefree summer, what hope will I have?

Instead of seeing these events as a burden, I need to change my view and celebrate and give thanks for them.  This busyness is brought to me by my family, and I am thankful for the family God has given me to fill up my calendar.


First Holy Communion Day for Mr. Dude



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Where’s My Motivation?

The dog is not motivating me.  I know it’s not his job, but seeing him curled up on the couch snoring the day away just makes me want to take a nap.

The dirty dishes in the sink are not motivating me.  Eh…the sink’s not overflowing.  They can wait a little longer.

The threat of no clean socks in the morning isn’t motivating me.  The laundry has been sitting around for days.  Surely some of those socks have aired out enough by now that they won’t be too stinky to wear again.

The thought of no plans for dinner isn’t motivating me, either.  There is always PB&J.

There is only ONE thing that is motivating me to get off my rear and get some work done.  I truly believe my God-given vocation is a wife and mother.  By serving my family, I am serving Him.  My procrastination and lack of motivation are pure selfishness, putting me before everything and everyone else.  Pride is an ugly sin.

Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

-Matthew 23:12


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All Stacked Up! ***GIVEAWAY***

See below for the information on the giveaway contest!

pop pop pop pop pop…whoosh, whoosh…slam!

I’m sorry, but I just can’t find a way to accurately describe the thrilling sound of sport stacking.  The excitement and electricity that flows through the stackers as they up-stack cups then down-stack in specified configurations, all while racing the clock, just can’t be conveyed in mere words.

2014 Great Lakes & Hoosier State Stacking Championships

This Saturday, February 28, is the WSSA Great Lakes & Hoosier State Sports Stacking Championships held in Connersville, Indiana.  Imagine rows and rows of tables covered in stack mats and cups with over 200 competitors waiting to give their best at the various stacking events. Stackers range in agestacking Watergirls from preschoolers to adult, including a Special Stacker division, all vying for the top positions in their age categories.  Eagerness, excitement, nervousness…it’s all there!  I should know.  Not only have my kids been participants, but so have I.

When I first got a flyer home from school with a kid eagerly asking me to buy a set of stacking cups, I said, “No way!  Why do you need special cups to make cup-pyramids?”  Sounded like a waste of money and a waste of time.  But then something happened.  I actually learned about the sport of sport stacking.  A representative from Speed Stacks (the official cups of the World Sport Stacking Association) came to our school and presented an assembly which I attended.  I learned about the rules and the various individual and team events in the sport.  I watched hypnotically as kids raced through the stacks and marveled at their speed.  I cheered as the students did relays against the teachers.  Most importantly, I learned about the benefits of sport stacking.  Sure there is the obvious motor skills used, teamwork, and confidence-building, but because it uses both hands equally, it makes both sides of your brain work.  Hand-eye coordination is developed.  Many athletes, especially, basketball players, have seen the benefits of stacking as a form of training.  I also learned of the special design of Speed Stacks:  weighted and with holes to allow air-flow and prevent cups from sticking together.  

After that, the kids got their own stacking cups.  The house was Elizabethsoon filled with the clacking of plastic cups as the kids practiced everyday after school.  It wasn’t long before I took my chances and gave it a try.  The trick is to work on fundamentals.  Get the flow down, know the different stacks, learn the tricks of the trade before you work on the speed.  I was hooked, too, practicing at the kitchen table after the kids had gone to bed.  By the time the next Spring came around, sports stacking fever had swept through our school and we found ourselves hosting the first statewide Hoosier State Sports Stacking Championship in 2009.


Each year since, the tournament has grown by leaps and bounds, drawing stackers from several states as well as Canada.  Under the outstanding direction of our coach and tournament director, Lisa Hauger, and an endless cast of volunteers, the success of this tournament caught the eyes of the powers-that-be at the World Sports Stacking Association (WSSA) and changed to the WSSA Great Lakes Regional & Sports Stacking Championships in 2013.  Many state records, as well as some national and world records, have been set at this tournament.  (I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but I have a state record or two, and so does my oldest daughter.  My middle daughter is a past state record holder.)   It is a fun day with great talent to watch, too, as there are usually several members of Sports Stacking Team USA.

This year’s tournament is set to be equally exciting.  Spectators are welcome to attend.  It would be a great family outing!  Here’s what you need to know:

2015 Championship

BUT…If you want to win TWO FREE TICKETS to Saturday’s competition, simply leave a reply below to this post.  One lucky commenter will be randomly chosen and receive two tickets to the WSSA Great Lakes & Hoosier Sports Stacking Championship on Saturday, February 28.  Deadline is Friday, February 27 at 5:00 P.M. EST.  Winner will be notified by email.  One entry per day.  Give it a try!!!

If you are still confused about what sports stacking is, here is a small sample.  This video was taken at the Hoosier State Sports Stacking Championship in 2012.  Seeing as how this was taken a few years ago, I am sure the kids would want to emphasize that they are now faster than the videos represent.

This video shows the Princess doing the 3-3-3 stack.  Although she was only 4 at the time, she had fun!


Here the Dancer is doing the 3-6-3, a stack of three cups on one side, then six, then three on the other side).  Yes, she is faster now and will probably be embarrassed that I shared this one.  (That’s OK.  I am Mom and I have the right to embarrass my children.)


Again, she is faster now, but this is the Curly Girlie doing the cycle several years ago.

Check out Speed Stacks, the WSSA, and Youtube for more (and better) stacking videos!

Thanks for stopping by and don’t forget to comment to enter the contest!

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My Name is Arf

I was born and raised in an English-speaking household.  In high school, I studied German for four years.  Thanks to Sesame Street as a child, I learned to count to ten in Spanish.  Dora the Explorer helped expand my Spanish vocabulary with a few more words when I watched when my children were younger.  I have even learned a few French words related to dance thanks to my daughters’ ballet classes.  However, there is one language that is truly puzzling to me and I would love to understand better:  canine.

Oh, how I wish I could speak the language of the dogs!  To be able to differentiate the difference between the barks and whines, growls and grunts would be wonderful.  To really know if Timmy, or anyone else, is trapped in a well…But, alas, the verbal language of the dog alludes me.  When I ask, “What are you barking at?” I just get a look from the dog as if I am an idiot.  “I JUST told you what I was barking at!  There is a BIRD on the front porch!!!”

There is, however, one word, one vocalization, which I have managed to translate:  “Arf”.  Yes, I am fairly certain that “Arf” means “Mom”.  Just as my kids holler for me, so does Mr. K.  Of course, he doesn’t say anything after “Arf”, I am supposed to figure that out by non-verbal cues.

“Arf” while standing in the kitchen means, “Mom, I’m hungry!”

“Arf” while looking at the front door means, “Mom, I need to potty!”

“Arf” when the kids are getting too rowdy means, “Mom, make them stop!  They are annoying me!”

“Arf” when standing in the hallway looking back at me means, “Mom, come on!  Let’s go to your room and take a nap.”

And just as my kids get excited and repeat, “Mom!  Mom!  Mom!!!”  So does Mr. K.  “Arf!  Arf!  Arf!!!”

Although it would be nice to know more of the Canine language, for now, I am satisfied with the little I have learned.  Who knows, maybe someday my knowledge will grow and I will understand more, maybe even speak it myself.  Until then, I will be content being lovingly known as “Arf” by my sweet little fur-baby.

My name is Arf

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Juggling: Part 2

In my previous post, Juggling: Part 1, I made a visual representation of the many tasks, demands, and responsibilities I am juggling.  This little exercise helped me realize that, yes, I am legitimately busy and it is no wonder I feel overwhelmed.  The many balls I juggle stresses me out and I feel I am constantly one step away from dropping them all.  I very, very seldom take any balls out of rotation, yet I seem to easily add more.  Seeing my chaos diagrammed out will hopefully help me prioritize and possibly eliminate some of these balls and make my juggling job as a wife and mom more manageable.

As I take a deeper look at my lists, I realize that not all of these balls in the air are exclusively mine.  Laundry, cleaning, cooking…I can get some help with this stuff!  Enter child labor!  I already have a new laundry system in mind and we have made small steps toward implementing it.  Cleaning…obviously there are many ways to break this down.  That is a whole different set of juggling balls that I don’t need to juggle alone.  Once I sit down and break it down, I can then assign different balls to the kids.  Won’t they be excited?

Multi-tasking is another way I can manage my life easier.  I already multi-task to a certain degree, but I think I need to plan it a bit better.  For example, when I go to visit my parents, I like to make some freezer meals for them to make their lives easier.  Why do I wait until I go to do that cooking?  Although I sometimes freeze food for them when I am cooking for us at home, it is usually when I find that I have made extra.  Seldom do I actually plan to make enough to take to my parents.  If I include them when I do shopping and cooking for my own family, it will make my visits with them less hectic and more enjoyable.

I also really need to push myself to finish tasks.  I do have attention issues to a certain degree, but I can’t use that as an excuse.  What does Yoda say?  “Try not.  Do, or do not.  There is no try.”  I tend to get to easily distracted by the other balls I have up in the air which draws my attention away from the tasks at hand.  For example, as I was typing this I needed to stop and get something for my sick child.  Then, she wanted lunch.  I ended up making her lunch, then lunch for the other kids, then for myself.  While I was in the kitchen I unloaded the dishwasher then loaded it and ran it again.  In the meantime, a disagreement was starting between the kids.  In order to stave it off, I took time to go and fix the TV that wasn’t working properly.  By that time, I needed a little break.  Again, the sick child needed my help, so my break was over.  While I was in the kitchen getting medicine, I realized the dishwasher had finished.  I turned my attention to unloading it once again  Oops…forgot to take the medicine to the child in need. I sat down to finish my break (playing just one more one more level of my video game).  After getting up to let the dog out, I returned to the kitchen to find the dishwasher open and partially unloaded.  Oh, yeah…forgot about that.  I finished unloading then filled it up again.  Noticing that my sink was gross, I started to clean the sink, only to get side-tracked by a few storage containers that didn’t make it into the dishwasher and needed to be washed by hand.  After that was done, I remembered I was in the middle of writing a blog and headed back to the privacy of my bedroom….followed by the Princess.  After drawing some pictures together, I am finally back at the computer to finish the task I started five hours ago.  Waiting for me in the kitchen is the partially clean sink and counter, which I didn’t have any intention of working on yet.  But my attention darted from here to there, not letting me finish what I had started.  Even though I did accomplish some stuff, I left other stuff undone.  Will I ever get back to the kitchen sink?  That wasn’t even on my to-do list for today.  None of this was!

I always knew I was busy, but it is therapeutic to see what I am busy doing.  Writing down my tasks, obligations, and duties was very helpful.  Now that I can see on paper (most of) what I have been juggling, I can take steps to smooth things out.  No, some of these balls will never disappear, nor do I want them to.  But hopefully, identifying the balls in the air can help me manage the juggling and ask for help when and where I need it.


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Juggling: Part 1

When I was in high school, I remember my brother coming home from college one weekend and showing me a new skill he was learning:  juggling.  He wasn’t great at it, but he could keep three balls of socks going for a few seconds.  Like any easily-impressed younger sibling, I wanted to learn, too!  Like the good older sibling he is, he gave me some pointers.  Although I never became good at it, I learned to juggle three objects for a few seconds which seems to impress people.  That’s good enough for me.

Now that I am older, I find myself in a different type of juggling game, one in which I don’t juggle balls but priorities and obligations, demands and responsibilities.  Recently, I was talking to my husband about how overwhelmed I am and how much I have to do.  I used the juggling metaphor, commenting that I never seem to be able to eliminate one of the balls and take it out of rotation.  Pondering upon that, I decided to do a little exercise.  I sat down with a paper and pen and drew a picture of myself juggling and labeled all of my “balls”.

This is the first picture I drew:


That’s a lot of balls to juggle.  Some of them are pretty big.  I decided I needed to divide those into smaller balls:


After looking at it for a bit, I realized that to be totally honest with myself, I needed to divide some of those balls again AND I added more:


I am sure I am forgetting some, and I know these can be divided even further, but I decide that’s all I want to deal with at the moment (can you say denial?).  Some of these balls were meant to be only temporary, but they sure have been up in the air a long time!  Others are perpetual and are always there or get completed and then reappear.  Looking at my pictures really gives me a new perspective.  I have so much up in the air and I need to admit that to myself.  My life is busy.  I keep running from ball to ball to keep them (or me) afloat.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful to eliminate some of those balls or pass them on to others?

But how do I do that?  What can I do to make my life easier?  How do I go from juggling chaos to juggling with grace and confidence?  That, my friends, is the question.

Stay tuned…




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