Thursday, August 31, 2006
The gem came at the very end of the book. Avery read, ...they tuck in their tails and whispered "good night!" and then busted out in laughter. I mean a really hardy belly laugh, "Mom isn't that funny, they whispered "Good Night!" They must've been like "Good Night!" he said in a whisper, but with all kinds of enthusiasm, because it was followed by an exclamation point, then he giggled and repeated it a few times, giggling in between each one until he had me laughing and trying to whisper "Good Night!".
...it's truly the simple things in life. Kids are so awesome, it reminds me what an honor it is to be a parent.
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Anyway, everyone used to tell me "I don't know how you do it - 3 kids, full time work, school...I just don't know how you do it". I really never knew what the big deal was. Now I know. As of today, I officially have no idea how I did it - it must've been the Lord.
My day started innocently enough - I got up at the crack of dawn (5:30ish with Amaya). I got the kids lunches ready and got them all dressed and out the door, then headed out myself at 7:30. No problem. Had a great commute - okay, it was just okay, because I had Jermaine's car and I couldn't figure out how to get the radio on (since his ipod was at home) and had to sit in silence until I randomly hit a button and NPR came on. Then I had to listen to NPR for the remaining 35 minutes - which stunk, since it repeats itself every 10 minutes. No traffic though - just a bunch of pine trees.
By the time I arrived home at 6:40 I was so hungry I thought I'd skip the whole meal preparation thing and just eat the refrigerator. But before I could do that, I had to feed 2 out of 3 kids, hold Amaya who was excited to see me and give each child a little one on one (I must stress "a little"). It was Amelle's first day of Kindergarten, so I wanted the details on that. Then I had to prepare their lunches for tomorrow and get all their clothes together for the next morning, then bathe them, then read them a story, then put them to sleep, do a load of laundry, clean up the dinner mess, then chat with Avery who has made it a habit of coming downstairs to chat for a few minutes after I put him to bed, then say "Hello" to my husband, then answer personal e-mails and now blog and soon go to sleep. I'm pooped.
How I ever squeezed school in, I'll never know.
Now I finally understand how people could never understand how I did it. It was definitely the Lord.
Sunday, August 27, 2006
I like the idea of living like a king (Solomon), having all of the luxury items I want at my disposal. But those things don’t fulfill and cannot sustain. I think that’s why so many celebrities end up on drugs or depressed, or worse. When you can afford all of life’s luxuries and you still feel empty inside, you realize that you need something else to fill your soul. You really never hear about missionaries strung out on drugs - and these are people who have very little in terms of earthy comforts, but are sustained and deeply fulfilled by doing the Lord's work. The bottom line is that only Jesus can fill that space, though most try people to satisfy that longing with one thing or another.
Its like having an itch that you can't get rid of. It feels better when you scratch it, but then it comes back once you stop scratching. If you're occupied with other things you might not notice it, but sure enough, as soon as things quiet down, there it is again. The only antidote for that itch is the Lord. He is deeply satisfying.
I sometimes find myself looking for fulfillment in the wrong places (sometimes in people, sometimes in "things), and then I remember (or am reminded) that my fulfillment comes from the Lord. Elijah had that, he was a prophet and he did the Lord’s work. He lived in the wilderness and was fed by birds (1 Kings 17) for cryin’ out loud – he didn’t have luxury, but he had the best thing of all – the Lord.
Saturday, August 26, 2006
from last week? Well, it ended up being a companion for Mr. Rock. Not a good thing.
Amelle takes Will on a waterjet ride at Chuck E Cheese (the blind leading the blind)
Will enjoys the sights, but not the sounds of the jungle at the Rainforest Cafe.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Combing hair has been a battlefield in our family for years. This summer Amelle actually banished me from her hair altogether and elected Jermaine as her stylist. Jermaine, though always willing to help out, never did fully accept his new role, which caused some degree of strife for all of us.
Amelle absolutely LOVES her new hair. She’s been alternating between wearing it up and down and flipping it all around. I think it’s adorable; a 100% improvement all the way around. Jermaine, Amelle, and I are all absolutely elated about her new do. Sylvia – not so happy, but I’m sure she’ll come around once she sees it in person.
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
When we arrived yesterday, though, everything was under control. Heather was composed and seemed to rescue one boy from impending danger, and then the other, while attending to Madeline's needs - all with an amazing amount of finesse. It was like a scene from the matrix, where she moved so fast and flawlessly that she actually looked like three people. Wendy and I sat back in amazement.
All that, and she insists that "it's getting easier".
Nothin' like a good old fashioned game of tag!
Otis gets in on the fun. This photo depicts the emotion where fun and scared meet.
Amaya discovers that climbing up slides is fun.
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Last week they were scheming up the idea of having a lemonade stand. I crunched the numbers for them (Heathcliff Huxtable style) and showed them that the money they would make, would not be worth the hours of sitting out in the sun. We only have 10 neighbors and we live on a cul-de-sac, so they don't get any drive-by traffic. I advised them to try a dying concept: work for your money. Jermaine and I agreed to come up with chores that the boys could do in exchange for money.
Apparently this concept didn't fair well with the future entrepeneurs. Last week I found them perched behind a box in the front yard with Amelle's cash register and some rocks. A handwritten sign informed me that there was a rock sale going on. I tried to ignore it; what kind of cockamamie idea is a rock sale?! Who is their market? I surely didn't want to encourage stupidity, and wasn't about to buy a rock from my own yard so I quickly moved on. Fortunately the sale only lasted about 15 minutes.
The next day as they set up for their rock sale again I suggested that they sell something more appealing, like flowers. I recommended that they go into the field behind our house and cut some wildflowers. This was a selfish act on my part because I secretly wanted some of those flowers to supplement the sparce sunflower bouquet that was depressing my dining room. I was happy to buy the first bundle.
Once the neighbors came home from work, the sale was on. Our neighbors bought up the entire supply of flowers. Avery had even picked some wildflowers from the property next door and sold them back to the homeowner! (oops!) :-)
Monday, August 21, 2006
Jeff and Dawn came up this weekend for a visit. For those that don’t know – Jeff is Jermaine’s best friend and Dawn is his lovely wife. This was their second trip to Maine this summer (hopefully that makes all of you who haven’t even visited once feel bad). On Saturday we went for a hike at Mount Agamenticus (Mount A).
The kids get soooo excited when we have friends and family visit (okay, their parents get excited too). There is just nothing better than spending time with people you love. On Saturday night we went out for Mexican food (I mean, we are in Maine and you know how Maine is known for it’s Mexican food).
Editors note: The pink backpack belongs to Amaya, it was filled with our water and fruit - Jeff was just being kind by lugging it up the Mountain for me (Jermaine was lugging up our 18 lb baby). I think he was a little self-conscious about wearing a pink backpack, when I asked him to go stand next to his "sweetie" so that I could take a photo, he thought I meant Jermaine.
Thursday, August 17, 2006
So I promised something provocative, and I'm generally not someone who backs down on a promise but I've got nothin' for ya.
Okay, here's something provocative: If you could visit any one day in your life (as an observer - like in a Christmas Story), which day would it be? I think for me it would be a random day from my childhood - like, say, June 20, 1979 - (or the nearest Saturday to that date). ...just after my birthday, so I'd have some new stuff to play with. I'd get to see my mom and dad married, I'd see my grandmother, my old neighbors. It would be summertime, so I could hang out all day. Wouldn't it be awesome to go back in time and observe days in your life..like, watch them happen? I hope we get to do that in Heaven. Probably not, but it would be cool.
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Here are some photos:
Here the kids feed the ducks (for my readers who are visually impaired). Note to self: not all photos require captions.
Avery gets brave and feeds a reindeer - yes, it's real. In my humble opinion, the reindeer feeding was the best part of the day. I mean, when do you ever get to feed/pet a reindeer? I don't think I've ever even seen a real reindeer before. I think I actually might've thought that only Santa had reindeer - all others were just "deer". (I've told you before that I'm not bright).
Amelle, Avery, and Mina had a ball with these two fun mirrors while Wendy, Will, & Joelle waited in a crazy-long line for the restroom. They were having so much fun I decided to take a peek at myself. Unfortunately the mirror made me about 400 lbs and about 4' tall, minus my 3' long giraffe neck which ended with my unusually small head - not so fun...I resembled a muppet...so I quickly retreated.
We had a nice time and the kids were great. I think we've finally arrived at a place where 2 adults can manage all the kids. I can remember when Amelle was a baby, Mina & Avery were in the 2s and Joelle was 4 - how did we ever make it through that year?
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Here are some photos...
Avery scales the side of this very high rock-climbing structure. Go figure, we travel all the way to the White Mountains to climb a simulated "mountain". Avery is so naturally athletic - this was his first try - Spiderman, look out.
Here's an interesting shot. I thought it would be a good idea to get someone to take a photo of all of us, so we all gathered together and I asked a stranger to point and click. It was the first picture of all of us - ever....or so we thought. Notice anyone missing? We're terrible parents.
Here Wendy, Will and Amelle get soaked in the bumper boat ride at Clarks Trading Post. I love Amelle's face in this picture - I was nervous about her getting on one of those boats and then crying out in the middle of no where - but she was aggressive on that thing! The added twist is the ability to shoot water at other boaters and spectators.
I wish I could post additional pictures; but I'm at my blog max. It was such a good time. My dad would've loved to have been there with us.
Friday, August 11, 2006
So, I've always hesitated to tell this story, but now I'll spill it. My brother was really adopted. Yes, it's true. I don't think he knows about it, but I found some documents while I was rifling through my parents important papers one time. He was born in a South American jungle, the offspring of a Tarzan-type fellow and a very feminine gorilla. My loving parents were honeymooning in the rainforest when they stumbled upon my infant brother wrapped in a large banana leaf. My parents searched the jungle for days to find his biological parents, but there was a war raging between the civilians and the Tarzan/ape people and they were an unfortunate casualty in the fight for equal rights to the beachfront. I digress. So my parents brought the infant home with them. They actually put him in their luggage in order to get through customs, really, they did. They named him Shaun and hoped to give him a normal life. He grew up and married Elvis' lovechild, Wendy. Together they raise 3 children, two beautiful, normal girls and a wildly handsome little boy that is 1/4 ape and 1/4 Elvis.
Don't tell anyone I told you, it's been a Casey family secret for years.
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
Our children are so completely unappreciative and prissy.
A few weeks ago I found myself literally begging Avery to go to the beach. “I don’t want to go; the beach is boring” he’d whine. What?! This is the same kid that asked “when can we leave” while we were at Disney World! (because he wanted to go to his Grandma’s house). Are we the only parents on the planet that have children who complain that they want to be someplace else when they’re at DISNEY WORLD?! They are completely unimpressed by everything. For Avery’s birthday we surprised him with an ATV – I don’t think he even smiled when the gift was presented to him. Jermaine was beaming, Shaun had tears in his eyes and every other person there had smiles from ear to ear. Other children screamed with glee and excitement, but Avery just sat there looking befuddled.
Each trip to the grocery store is met with “my feet are tired, can I ride in the cart?” ..or “It’s too cold in the grocery store”. Then I find myself explaining to them that unless we go, they won’t have milk for their cereal, or syrup for their pancakes. They don’t care about that though. Same deal at the mall, all of the sudden both children turn into quadriplegics. In church I can’t get them to stand to worship the Lord because their “legs hurt”. I try to explain that Christ endured the cross for them, the least they could do is stand up for a song of praise, but I get nowhere.
Yesterday I asked them to clean their trash and toys out of the back of the minivan, “Why do WE have to clean it”. “Because it’s your disgusting mess”, I explain. So as they’re cleaning I’m crackin’ the whip commenting on what a gross mess they’ve created and “didn’t daddy JUST clean this out two weeks ago and tell you guys to keep it clean?”, and “don’t forget that spot” and “why did you leave ice cream in the car?!” when I notice that some of their DVDs have taffy all over them. I have warned Avery repeatedly about taking care of his DVDs. I’ve instructed him to put them back in their cases when he’s finished watching them. So we come in the house and I show Avery that two of his DVDs are ruined and I dramatically pitch them into the trash. He was like “that movie wasn’t very good anyway” and “that DVD was already broken”. I looked at him squarely and said “Don’t you care that you’ve ruined your belongings?” He looked squarely back at me and politely answered, “No”. (He wasn’t being fresh, he was being honest; he really doesn’t care).
When I ask him to clean up his room, he tells me that he has too many toys and that we should give some away to kids that don’t have many (which we do).
Where have we gone wrong? A little parenting advice, please….
Monday, August 07, 2006
Have you ever wondered if maybe you might’ve suffered from a mini-stroke and didn’t know it? Two weeks ago I hired a babysitter while I took my comp exam. I figured that I’d need her for 6 hours and that I’d pay her $7 per hour. I spent almost the entire ride to the exam trying to figure out what the total would be…I couldn’t figure out what 6x7 was! …I even tried to remember 7 x 7 and then subtract 6, but couldn’t remember that either. Then I tried 8 x 7, figuring that I’d just subtract 12, but that yielded nothing. I broke out in a cold sweat, there was nothing there; it was like I was brain dead. I ended up adding up my sixes….6+6= 12, +6 = 18 +18 = 36. Now it could’ve been that I had a lot on my mind (I was on my way to a six hour exam that would seal my graduate school fate), however, the thought did cross my mind that I may’ve suffered a mini-stroke that only affected the math portion of my brain (what’s that, the left side?) Apparently the right side is still in tact, because I passed the test. Fortunately, you don’t need to perform basic single digit multiplication in order to get your master’s degree.
The other thing on my mind is that since I’ve been wearing flip-flops all summer long, my heels are like sandpaper and I don’t know what to do about it. Jermaine’s feet are like silk and mine could be used to smooth spackle. I had a pedicure about a week ago and the poor woman who worked on my feet spent about an hour scrubbing them. Her arms had quite the workout! I left with the soft feet that I so desire, but a day later, the roughness had re-appeared. It’s not all bad because I can use my heels to quite effectively scratch my bug-bitten feet and legs. It’s actually like having a loofa…a built-in exfoliant. Does anyone have any advice on what to do about this? My grandmother use to put lotion on, then plastic gloves, then thin white gloves over that to treat her rough psoriasis-ridden hands. I’m not going there – so don’t suggest anything crazy, I’m not going through great lengths to solve the problem, but if there is a product out there that can help, I’ll try it.
Lastly, have you ever skipped breakfast before church and then been so hungry that when the communion plate came around you looked for a large cracker-thing, like it’s going to take an edge off the hunger? I haven’t, I was just wondering if any of you have.
Saturday, August 05, 2006
The weather was just perfect this morning. We couldn't have asked for a better day!
Happy Birthday Ms. Nine-Year Old (going on 25!!). I love you Joella-bella! ...or as I used to call you when you were a baby..."Sweetpea".
Don't worry Shaun, just because she's getting older, it doesn't mean that we are.....or does it?!
Thursday, August 03, 2006
I think the children were as excited about those pet rocks as they would've been if we had gotten a dog. Avery put a large rock in the bowl next to his little pet rock, so logically, I asked him if that was Rockie's friend, and he said, "No, it's his house".
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
I'm not someone who is entirely comfortable with having nothing to do (though having three kids around hardly qualifies as "nothing to do"). I began my week with making Avery write in his journal, I implemented a rewards and recognition program for the children, I started working on the 2nd edition of our family newsletter, and I have begun designing a website for a local christian organization. Some of my other plans are to organize the house (things are moved in, but they aren't where they belong), do some painting around the house (during Amaya's naps), tackle the kids summer reading lists (6 pages long), do some recreational reading of my own, and most importantly, try to enjoy the last few weeks of summer with the kids, knowing that this is a rare and unique opportunity - a blessing from God, really.
With my new found time I'm toying with the idea of getting into a watercolor painting class this fall/winter for fun. Even if it never happens, it's really exciting to be able to think of ways to fill up time that was previously spent doing school work.
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
One of our awesome neighbors purchased a willow tree for Ariel, so that she would always have roots in Maine.