Lost and Found

Today I was on Facebook {my family says I am there all the time, nope, I’m not, I’m in the blog world or on pinterest too…
Like I was saying today I was on Facebook and a friend shared how she lost her child last night, he was found in the living room sleeping but for those few seconds where neither mom or dad knew where their little guy was, was a terrifying moment.  She said it took hours to fall back asleep and he woke up again, they think he might be having bad dreams.  I remember those days well.

Years ago I lost O twice, not the same night and not even the same year but terrifying none the less.  The first time I lost her we were up at the college in north-east PA, where Keith was taking Masters Classes and working at basketball camp.  If I remember correctly O was about 5 years old.  The campus was undergoing major renovations work was constant on updating the exterior of the dorms.  The dorm we were staying in was no exception.  Day in and day out there were construction men climbing up on scaffolding outside, coming in and checking things and working all over the place.  We had a suite in the dorm on the bottom floor (each floor was made up of 4 suites and each suite had 3 rooms and a bathroom holding up to 6 students per suite, a small hallway with a door that could be shut that lead to the “living room”) during the Masters classes and Basketball camp we had an entire suite to our family.  Our good friends had the suite kitty-corner from us.  Early one morning as the sound of construction workers started up I got up to use the bathroom, after using the bathroom I checked in on the kids.  We set our suite up as the first room was our “private living room” we bunked the beds that were in there, kept the toys and books and play things in there as well as Keith’s work area, at night time he had that room to himself while the 3 kids (long time ago) shared the next room and the final room we pushed the beds together and had a nice room to ourselves.  Like I was saying I used the bathroom and then was going to check on the kids in hope that I could get a little more sleep before the day officially began.  I went into the kids room and only the boys were in there O was not on her bed.  I went into our hallway and noticed our door was not completely shut, stuck my head in our play room, then I went into our room and woke up Keith (quite frantically) I could not find O, our hall door was cracked open, and there were workers all over the place outside.  I ran out of our suite to our friends suite banging on their door until they came to it, informed them O was missing and they rushed to search with us.  We went into the laundry suite (on the bottom floor one suite was a laundry/storage/RA suite) we woke the other family on the bottom floor and I remember Keith and our friend rushing up the stairs to find O.  I went back in our suite again to check for O.  As I entered into the play room I saw a glimpse of her “puffer” and blanket.  I yanked the toy box out from under the bed and saw O under there.  I yanked her out yelling at her, I thought she was hiding.  She had walked in her sleep crawled under the bed behind the toys.  I was so scared and then relieved, while she was near hysteria because I had yelled at her, yanked her out from under the bed and hugged her all while she was sleeping with no idea the scare she caused or where she was.  I was never so scared.  We still talk about it to this day “Remember when O went missing?”  It still makes my breathing increase and my heart beat faster.

A year or two later we had another scare.

It was a school morning, when I woke up I rolled across the bed climbing out Keith’s side I went to wake the kids.  I went to the boys room R was up, I took a minute to wake C up, then went across the hall to wake O up.  When I walked in her room I noticed O was not in her bed.  I looked in the bathroom to see if she was up already.  She was not in the bathroom, she was not in the living room or dining room she was not in my room or bathroom.  I began to panic, I called Keith at school, by now both boys are calling for her, shouting her name and searching the house.  I did not know what to do so I called 911, while I was trying to remember what pajamas she had on the night before one of the boys yelled out “I found her!”  The 911 operator stayed on the line while I went to check on her.  Girl-friend had a bad dream, woke up, came in my room, laid out the kindergarten nap mat on my side of the bed and went back to sleep, since I rolled across the bed, I never saw her on the floor.  I apologized to the 911 lady and have not lost any kids since that night.

????????Why she hid under the bed, I’ll never know, but both times I was terrified that something had happened to her.  our outcome was great and we are thankful.

What about you?  Ever look a child or pet?
Go hug your kids and show someone some love.
jen

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A Quick Road Trip and Our Weekend

This weekend Keith, C and O went back up to that university in Ky.  The one that is going to take my man-child and give me back a man.  They went because C qualified to compete for a full ride.  As you read that, read it in tones of angels singing, Full Ride, oh beautiful words!  He and many other students were invited to compete, there was a process, I am just hoping and praying that he is a winner.  That would be wonderful!
1653677_10203842150920450_1697296125_nI am not sure all the weekend entailed but I do know that he has pre-registered for classes in the fall.  WHAT?! How is this happening?  Why can’t I stop time for just a little bit?

O’s main concern was 2 fold, seeing SNOW and finally having her birthday dinner.  The birthday girl really wanted FAZOLI’S.  She wanted Fazoli’s for her birthday dinner but the closest one to us, that we could find was almost 8 hours away.  Who knew?!?!  That University in KY that is taking the man-child from me has one very near, so they went to Fazoli’s for her dinner.1743647_10203852522699738_1825498019_nAll you can eat bread sticks.  Can’t go wrong with that!

As for snow…
1907582_10203842151480464_875932682_n
Do you want to build a Snowman?1619453_10203842152400487_2124410165_nOr have a snowball fight at the gas station off I-75?  You’d think the kid had never seen snow.  Oh Wait??? {ok so they actually saw snow when he was only 5 and she was 3, we went to MI to great grandma’s house for Christmas so they saw snow then.  One time.}

The weekend ended with a banquet for the prospective students and their guests.  O texted me this picture, 1017569_10203852522459732_469971915_nShe had no idea what it was, she was unwilling to try it.

We will hopefully hear the results from the contest soon.  I’m quite filled with anticipation on the results.  I know God is good, I know he has all things planned out for His glory.  I just pray that this is for His glory!

One day this week, I came in the dining room to find A behind the door curtains, and I hear her giggling.  She pulls back the curtain with the look of delight on her face.  “mama, I thought that bird killed the other bird but they are just playing, see how they dance in the air then the birds go on the ground and they sit and climb on each other”  Ummm “yes honey”  “Mama isn’t that silly?  They like to play with each other.”  Yes baby.  FYI we will now be expecting baby mocking birds in a few weeks.

1800309_10203852520499683_420204305_nYesterday we ran to Target, Spiderman was there…

I saw a man standing in his driveway brushing his teeth today.  What makes a person need to go outside and brush your teeth standing in the driveway?  There was no animal “going” outside, there were no children playing out there and there was no car or people in the driveway with him.

1896771_10203852519299653_695483155_nPure Sweetness.
Because the bigger kids were gone, R got plenty of snuggles with both PS and A.  He loves them so much!

1798804_10203853060433181_1287046855_nAny ideas?
hockey goal of course…

1496989_10203853060153174_36258559_nE went to a painting party, pretty neat, huh?   If she keeps going to these parties our whole house will be filled with original artwork.

What about you?  What kind of weirdness happened in your life?
Go hug your kids, they so desperately need your unconditional love.
jen

The Olympics Are Making Me Tired

Oh the Olympics, I just cannot get enough!  Seriously I have been watching every chance I get, and since PS has decided that 1am-6am is a great time to be awake, I have been watching replay in the middle of the night.  I love the stories that make us connect to the athletes, I cannot get enough of the award ceremonies I smile and cheer for the underdog and feel badly for the 4th place athlete.  I gasp at the falls and ask about the commentators like I know them personally.  I don’t know about you but I am glad Bob’s eyes are finally getting better, the annoying announcer that made the skier cry made me mad and call me heartless but I don’t really care about the stray dogs.

1947725_10201994740242891_119852457_nJ is completely taken with the events, the riskier, the faster, the show of it all, the bigger the better.  He has stayed up way past his bed time since the start of it all.  Our dining room has become a short track, the tree silhouette on the staircase is target for the shooting events, and if you miss you have to race through the house, touch the dining room table and get back to your gun and shoot the tree again.  There are socks and soft pads rubber banded to his feet for speed skating.  He wants to flip off the couch in the free style events.  And the best is on Saturday he warned us.  “I only have 6 years to choose an event and begin working on it to compete as soon as I am eligible”  Thanks for the warning son, but do you realize that 10 months out of the year it is 90 plus degrees here, there is no place to practice the winter events.

I can’t even pick a favorite event, everything I watch is my favorite.  I just know that when they end I will be getting more sleep watching less tv, and listening to J continue to practice in the house.

We caught a cold last weekend PS and I, it was miserable for both of us, since then she has had trouble remembering that night-time is for sleeping, so we are working our way back to sleeping more than being awake in the night.  At least right now we can bond over the Olympics while she is crying and awake.  I hope that she is back to normal when the Olympics end, what will I watch in the middle of the night if they are not on?

What is your favorite event?
Go hug your kids, after watching the news you just never know when it will be your last chance to give some love to the one you love.
jen

p.s.  remember my complaint about the guys who came door to door selling children’s books?  The news featured them last night, they are not making money for schooling, or for the children’s hospital, or for charity.  They are selling these thing for some company that is just taking the money, the kids are not even getting much out of the work.  Watch out and be aware of them.

What is Hot Lunch?

Here is a typical morning conversation at our house.  Actually it is a typical anytime conversation at our house…  Today’s is between E, Little A and Me.  I could not help but smile at little A’s helpfulness in the situation.
Me to E: you have to get hot lunch, all I have is strawberries and sandwich stuff.
E: I don’t know what hot lunch is.
A: it is lunch that is hot.
E: I don’t know what hot lunch is.
A: it is hot because they put it in the oven.
E: I don’t know what the food is.
A: it is food that is hot you put it in your mouth.

And that people is why I must send my kids to school.

Amber Teething Necklace
My sister mentioned these to me the other day so I started researching them, I think I might try one out for baby PS. I read they are helpful with teething but as an added benefit they help with migraines, I’m wondering if it would also balance hormones?  Have any of you tried them?  Do they seem to work or is it just a hoax?  I’m willing to give them a try but how do I know if it is “real amber” and not plastic beads?  Does anyone know anything out there?  Is there anything “Natural” that can help balance hormones?

OLYMPIC FEVER
Our afternoons and evenings are consumed with the Olympics.  We really can’t get enough I love them and so do most of the kids.  J told us Sunday night.  “I only have 6 years to choose an event and start training before I can compete.”  If they have trick scooter events then he is set.  He has “tricked out” his scooter that we keep in the house and is constantly doing “stunts.’  Mostly they consist of jumping the scooter and jumping over the scooter.  At least it gives me a break from the constant game of basketball being played in the family room.

Last week he was home with a cold, after getting better he hung onto that nagging cough, it was making me crazy and I love that boy more than life itself so I kept him home to spare his teacher the opportunity to listen to his cough… {It really was annoying}  Because he was better except that cough I sent him outside with the tennis ball and racket he was using in the family room on the wall, I sent him out to the driveway to let him play on the outside of the house.  It was great the thump was a little quieter and I did not have to listen to him cough.  Did I mention it was annoying! For an hour he was out there shooting hoops and playing wall ball/tennis/raquet ball.  Later while dinner was cooking Keith came home and asked what J was doing.  {Tennis again I assumed} So stating the obvious Keith told me that if the ball hit the corner edges of the cement board siding that it could break off.  I had no idea, Keith had to go out and end J’s game.  So now I listen to the tennis ball in the house again.

Last night after most of the kids had gone to bed O was “studying” while watching the olympics.  We were watching the downhill event.  A commercial came on and she asked me “What event would you do?”  I said “You mean now or if I was younger and in shape?” She replied “What ever, it is not like you’d do good anyway”  That girl then covered her tracks and said “Not like I’d do good either.”  Good save girlie good save.

I told you we are smitten with the entire event.  J has decided he wants a skate board for his birthday {coming up in March} so he can practice the skeleton on it.  Good grief, he is so funny.

IMG_0424The big kid is “helping” me make dinner.IMG_0425He has a good hold on her and she is comfortable.
He is smitten by her.IMG_0429E is in the pink shirt, singing in “Arkeology” for the 1st and 2nd grade program.IMG_2018I mostly don’t care that I am getting nothing done.  She is a great snuggler.IMG_0475The girls were playing with my camera, they can’t get enough of her still.
The beautiful blanket is from her name sakes mom.  It is so soft and so cozy I love it and want a grown up sized one!

What about you?  Do you know anything about Amber Teething Necklaces?  Have you thought about what winter event you would participate in?  I still can’t decide.

Go hug your kids and celebrate the Olympic spirit
jen

The 10 Reasons I Love Driving My Kids to School {and Other Places}

DSCN3817Every Morning
Every single morning O calls out “We’re going to be late”
{We are not late}
Every single morning we all climb in the van, I say climb because we don’t have those handy runners to step on. We climb in the van and sit all together.  The kids talk or listen to music or sing along.  We used to keep the radio off but now we play it, or O has the Frozen Sound Track we listen to 2 songs, 1 while waiting for everyone to get in the van and then Let It Go.  It is her favorite song.  Right now.  I love listening to them all sing along to the song and not fuss or fight with each other{most of the time.}  Two minutes of peace {mostly peace} two minutes to give them instruction, correction and mostly love.

1 I LOVE YOU
Each time I drop off a child I remind them I love them.  I do it regardless of who else has come along for the ride, a friend of theirs or a friend of mine.  “Have fun, I LOVE YOU”  or “Remember who you belong to, I LOVE YOU”  every time.

2 LONG TALKS
When I take a child with me where ever I go, I get to listen to them.  They can share funny things, important things, concerns and questions, all without fear of mockery or embarrassment.

 3 ALONE TIME
We try to take a child with us each time we leave.  I say try because honestly sometimes I grab my keys and literally run out of the house, I need some of my alone time.  I can listen to the music or listen to silence, I can pray or keep quiet with no thoughts at all.  I can plan or problem solve.  Alone.

4 DESTINATION
Each time we are going someplace in the van it is usually to drop off or pick up from an even that the kids are eager to participate in, a game, an activity, a time with friends.  We are going to make our kids happy and sometimes I really like making them happy.

5 LEARNING EXPERIENCE
This year O had a classmate whose father passed away.  We went to the funeral.  It was not an event either one of us looked forward to, it was not a happy thing it was a hard thing.  Going to the funeral taught O a few things, 1 it is not all about her, 2 we do hard things 3 doing hard things is important because 1 it is not all about us.  I do not like going to funerals {who does right?} but we have to.  It is not all about us.

6 A CHANCE TO GROW
Dropping them off for a project gives them a chance to grow emotionally, to learn to work with other people who may or may not have the same work ethics, experience or skill.  Going to drop them off for a project gives them a chance to grow emotionally as they stretch their comfort zone.

7 A SHINING MOMENT
I look forward to watching each child perform in the activity that excites them.  Dramas, Science Fair, or Games and Programs,  It is always fun taking them to an activity to watch them shine.  Going to these events shows that we value them and the things they find important.

8 TOGETHER TIME
When 2 or more children come along for the trip to target or the post office, it gives them an small chance to learn from each other, listen to each other and give the family bonding a stronger link.  Teaching them that family is everything.

9 SCHOOL
I love dropping them off at school because I know it is an environment that at any given moment one of my children is happy.  Chances are good that during the day each kid has a good moment.  I do not expect them to love every second of every day, I do not expect their classmates to be kind to them every single moment, I do not expect them to find everything easy every single moment.  But chances are good that each child will have a great moment during the day, a friend or teacher or lesson will excite and please them.

10 PICK UP
After a drop off there is always a pick up, where we are back together again as a family.  Learning, loving, laughing, and leading as one whole group and that is the very best part of dropping my kids at school or any other place, the pick up.

What about you?  Do you love car time, drop offs, pick ups, long rides with time to share?
Go hug your kids life is just changing so fast, tell someone you love them before it is too late.

jen????????Wouldn’t it be fun to drive around in this?!?!?!
{Yes we did get the whistle!}

A Knock at the Door

My long time readers know how I greeted the JW’s who came to the door last year, and after that they have come back only once.  I think my house may be banned from their neighborhood canvassing.  If you are really curious you will have to go back and look for it…

Today I was in a blueberry mood.  Thankfully I have a freezer full of them, I have a friend who is a farmer and she had blueberries last year, I think by the season’s end I had purchased 6 half flats from her.  We had blueberries on everything, they were organic, no pesticides and I felt great knowing there was no middle man getting any of her money.  I flash froze trays and trays of berries to use out of season.  I am not sure what set off today’s craving. might be the warmer weather, what ever it was I started checking out Pinterest for easy and good-looking blueberry recipes.  I found a few to try.  Big sister A was a willing sous chef we set to work when the PS fell asleep.  I won’t bother you with the recipes it was the fly by night one that was the best.  I took pie crust, cut it into circles and stuffed it into a muffin tin, then took about 1 cup of blueberries, mine were frozen, mixed in some sugar and even less flour and a sprinkle of cinnamon, I spooned it into the 6 little “crusts” and stuck it in to bake.  when it looked done I put a small scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.  Oh my it was so so good!  The other things I did are nothing to blog about, even though I got the recipes off from other blogs…

After we baked, and sampled we took a nap.  It was a short nap, I needed to go to Target before car line pick up.  I was just getting ready to wake up A when there was a knock on the door, with the baby in my arms I went to answer the door.  {I answer because the door is glass they can see me looking, todays guy waved at me, I answer because you hear about the home robbers who knock first then when no answer break in}  So I opened the door half way, to let him know I am not really interested, he breaks out with. I’m your neighbor I live on the lake at the end of your street,  Then he gives his story, he has the opportunity to go to cooking school in Paris, The Cordon Bleu, to learn to cook for Carnival Cruise Lines.  And now he gives his pitch, books, he needs me to buy his books.  Today is a computer age if I want to order a book I’m going to do it online.  I tell him I am not interested, he shoves a laminated dogeared flyer in my hands I push it back at him.  Then I say I have to put my son through college I am not going to buy any of your books right now.  He said “Maybe your son should sell these books to pay his own way?”  UMmmm yeah how well is it going for you?  And there is no way I’m letting my child go door to door annoying people selling something.  I just shut my door, locked it and walked away.  We are a family of readers, I can guarantee that we are not interested in those books, and no really means No.  I’m not interested is a polite no, time to learn that too.  21 Years ago, a girl came to our door, it was spring time I had the windows wide open and the door wide open too, she was selling magazines, and invited herself right into my house, sat herself down on the couch and begin asking me for things, I was shocked hardly older than her, she was a college freshman she said, I would have been a college senior.  I politely kept telling her no she finally got ticked and left.  What makes door to door sales men/women behave that way?

An over due CONGRATULATIONS to R, He placed 3rd in his category for Science Fair.  It was hard work, it was long work and he should be proud of his accomplishments!  I wish I had a picture but cannot find one anyplace.  Great Job R!!!
He has moved on already, this year he joined the school Trial Team and is eager to officially join next year.  Until then he goes to the practices, he writes up arguments and questions and closing statements for fun.  Oh how I love that boy!

What about you?  Ever do door to door sales?  Or have a lovely salesperson not take the hint of “no?”
Go hug your kids and stay warm!
jen

A Family of Nine

IMG_0478The Overholt Family

Our first picture as a family of nine.
We are so blessed
Psalms 127:3-5
Children are a gift from the Lord;
they are a reward from him.
Children born to a young man
are like arrows in a warrior’s hands.
How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them!
He will not be put to shame when he confronts his accusers at the city gates.

Had a short conversation with a mother of 2 this week, she clearly thought we were crazy.  I could see it in her eyes as she searched her brain for something nice to say.  At least she was kind.

“How do you do it all?”
she asked
I was honest
“I can’t do it all, so I don’t, and it is okay.”

I did not tell her that yesterday, there were dirty dishes on the counter a funky smell coming from the washer where I forgot a load of wet laundry, {not a problem I’ll re wash with some bleach} I sent the big kid 2 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in his lunch, {“Ugh, Mom, do you know I had JELLY squish between my teeth for lunch today?”} There is a laundry basket of outgrown clothes to put away, and E came home with pink~eye while J stayed home with an annoying cough.  The baby does not like nights from 8:45 until 11pm.  I did get to sweep the dining room and sitting room when my mom showed up after school to ask me something, she held the baby for some snuggle time while I quickly put dinner in the oven {“what are you making for dinner?” the burn smell is something on the bottom of the oven I forget about until the oven heats up, eventually it will burn up and not smell} and swept the floors, picked up stray shoes and took care of the messy gel art from the kids who were home from school.

I hope that when my kids are grown and look back on their memories of our house, that when they remember the mess, they will remember the reason for the mess, the crafts, the games, the play time, the snuggle time, the sit and relax and listen to them time.

So I can’t do it all, but you know what?  When I only had 2 I could not do it all either.  And it was okay.

What about you were you from a large family?  Can you “do it all?”

Go hug your kids, tell someone why they are important to you, and share the love.
jen