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Showing posts from August, 2008

Crabby Road

I get overwhelmed occasionally by how isolated it is here in Smallville. It's a six hour round trip to a decent playground, the science museum or the zoo. Yesterday was one of those days. I clicked my heels together and wished us anywhere but here.

Apparently my sneakers are not magical.

So I did the next best thing because sanity was hanging by a very thin thread. We shoed up and went for a leisurely walk around the neighborhood to look for things to view under our new microscope.
Crabby Road Faith is singing. Faith is always singing.

Claire holding Charlie's hand and a specimen bag. She's collected a little more specimen than her bag will accomodate.

No! No! Not Biology!

Seventeen questions. Seventeen physical science review questions are the only thing preventing us from cracking open the box that holds John and Lauren's biology supplies. They aren’t happy about the transition. To be honest, they’re a bit green around the gills because the box contains creatures to be dissected. Four creatures to be exact. Four hundred and fifty smackers got us our very own nausea inducing creatures, a biology textbook and a microscope that thinks it’s a Cadillac.

The incentive of playing with the Cadillac is not the motivator that I expected it would be. Instead, John and Lauren dawdle their way through the last seventeen questions with much hemming and hawing. They keep referring back to the parallax theory and the apparent magnitude theory, just to be sure.

Faith wants them to hurry up and get on with it because she is not squeamish. “What does dissect mean, Mom?”

“The kids are going to get to cut open a frog and some other stuff to see how they are made.”


Saturday Morning Countdown

The kids wait all week for Saturday mornings to trade their school books for the Game Cube controllers. For Charlie, the anticipation is akin to Christmas. He blasts into our bedroom at Oh-Dark-Thirty and invites Stuart to join him for a game of Metroid or Zelda. Stuart always declines politely, sends him back to his room with instructions not to come out until the sun comes up, and ducks his head under the covers for a little more shut eye.

We tried something new this week. I don't know what possessed us, maybe we were delirious. We told Charlie, "No media until eight o'clock." We couldn't have been too hopeful about the success of this plan because we didn't even bother to show him what the hour of eight looked like on the clock. We just sent him off to bed and expected to see him as usual before the sun came up.

But he didn't show up. 6:30 came and went. Not that we noticed because we were still sleeping but we figured out that he handn't been there …


Two years ago we were pushed from the nest.  A church nest. Never one we liked better. It was soft, a place that drew us in and gave us comfort. It was strong too, woven with the iron of men and women of depth and character and faith. A busy place. We were a whirlwind of activity, flitting from event to event. We learned a bit about teaching and leading there. We really did love it and never would have left but life pushed us out and we landed mewling and more than a litte quizzical a few states away.

And for the past several years, we've been looking for a new nest. One that is strong and comfortable and challenging. We've tried to make ourselves at home in two since we arrived. They were of the traditional variety as the majority here are, constructed with pews and suits and hymns. One was weak and sagging; pride and indifference threatened to tear it to shreds. The other didn't need us. Oh, they were happy to see us each Sunday but all the jobs were taken (kitchen helpe…

The Sink is Now Back Online

I realize that this post is not going to be of interest to most people. Who really cares about the detail of a kitchen facelift. Well, my family apparently. And now that they are joining the blog world in droves, they are full of requests. "We want to see pictures. Post them on the blog." So this post is mainly for Sarah and Jen. (And Mom, don't waste your printer ink on a dozen silly pictures!)

Here goes.

Stuart moved to Smallville and went house shopping while I stayed in Chattanooga. He did not pick out the house that we live in for the kitchen. As a matter a fact, this blurry shot that Stuart took with his cell phone...

...was the only picture that he e-mailed to me of the kitchen, "because it's really horrible, Kate. You'll hate it." Now this kitchen did have some features that were not too impressive, mainly the cabinet that hung over the counter. I kind of had to do a little backbend when I worked in this space. But I was surprised by how efficient …

Camping Out

I wore the covers off the Little House on the Prairie books when I was a kid. Much of my pretend was informed by the trek that Ma and Pa made across the prairie with Laura and Mary and Carrie in tow. My sister and I turned the picnic table into a makeshift covered wagon complete with Pet and Patty, our trusty saw horses. I loved the way Ma could turn a grassy campsite into a home complete with a vase of flowers and freshly ironed linens.

The reason for this trip down memory lane?

Our kitchen sink has been removed to make room for...
...this new and improved model. I'm thankful for the years spent at Grandpa's summer bootcamp where I learned that dishwashers are for sissies. Grandpa's dishwashing rules: Fill the tub with scalding water. Hotter! Hotter! Glassware first, silverware next, plates and finally the pots and pans.
Lauren and John dry. They've never been to Grandpa's Bootcamp. Grandpa would roll over in his grave if he knew that these two whippersnappers are pla…


Drat-tic-us-interj [LL drat Used primarily by Charlie. Invented by Claire as she reminds us every time Charlie says it.] (2008) 1: darn 2: shoot 3: Curses, foiled again! Example:
“No, Charlie, you don’t have enough money to buy a robot.”
“Oh, dratticus.”
“No, Charlie, you can’t have a cheesestick. It’s almost dinner time.
“Oh, dratticus.”
Sounds best delivered with a pouty lip and a little stamp of the foot. Used for expressing minor disappointment. For major setbacks see: FLING, ROLL as in fling yourself to the floor and roll about vigorously. Planting a kick on your mother is a bonus. As in you get bonus time out minutes. DRATTICUS is never used in these instances.

ito-suffix [SJJ discovered by Charlie in Skippy John Jones: A lengthy picture book. It’s funny but only once if you’re over ten. There’s no limit to funny if you are younger.] (2008) 1: Add to any English word to create an authentic Spanish word 2: Used most frequently when Charlie is in a cheerful or hopeful mood. Example…


There is one window in my dark kitchen. It is a zealous sentry, granting sunlight permission to track golden footprints across the floor only in winter. It looks out over a few bird feeders, the garbage can, and a propane tank. Not much of a view.

The view inside the kitchen is exceptionally dismal at the moment. Stuart is underneath the sink disconnecting the plumbing and ripping out the countertops. The cooktop is in the walk-in closet and we have a big green bucket set up in the backyard as a makeshift sink. I feel at loose ends with my "office" torn to shreds. The kids are eating cereal for dinner in order to be dirty dish conservative. They are quite happy. Stuart is not. They ate a whole box of Raisin Bran Crunch in one sitting. He really likes Raisin Bran Crunch.

There is one tiny oasis here in the kitchen. The sill to my light-stingy window is rather deep with room enough for a few pitchers of Angelonia above the place where the sink used to be. They are my favorite fl…

Mechanical Mourning

The fridge went. The freezer side kept its stuff cold and frosty but the fridge side refused to cooperate. Sometimes it was content to keep produce at the proper temperature but occasionally it would get cranky and when it was cranky it preferred to soften the butter and spoil the milk. Stuart tried several times to coax it into submission with a hair dryer. This worked but the hair dryer had to be pressed into service with alarming frequency. And one day, after I hastily rescued five packages of meat from the summery bowels of this appliance, the fridge went. Out to the garage because the freezer still works and a new fridge took its place. Black with French doors; the fridge on the top and the freezer on the bottom. It has an icemaker in the freezer but no water on the door. The kids were baffled by water on the door.

When we brought this black beauty in and set it in the place of old fridge, John said, "The other appliances will go into mourning. I bet they'll miss their ol…


The little girls and I spent a few hours bringing order to their jumbly bedroom. I patiently helped them sort because all the while this post was taking shape.

...a hollow, bottomless, ten inch bamboo stalk known affectionately as The Bottomless Cup of Yang Tsu Tse. A frequently used prop for pretending.

...a rock from Lily.

...a frog bobblehead "for playing with my Barbies or my Littlest Pet Shop or for just making his head bobble all around." ...a vanilla extract bottle, "just because." ...a wire heart-shaped basket "for picking blackberries" ...a pencil wound with a yard of thread with a paper clip attached to the end because, "we use it to pick stuff up with."
TO GIVE AWAY... ...a tangle of bead necklaces ...two Christmas lanterns sparkly purple spandex dress
TO EXCLAIM OVER... ..."It's my bear! My little purple bear that goes with this little shirt! I thought I lost him!"
TO RESCUE AND DISPLAY... ...this pipe cleaner fairy