Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Weekend

Last night I pulled the kids out of bed to see the Super Moon. They were blown away by the glow. It was gorgeous. I wish we'd planned a night hike to wrap up our Saturday. I had allowed the kids each a coke at an outdoor concert so they weren't sleeping anyway. But a quiet(ish) night at home fit the bill too.

Today I kidnapped Erin who was recovering from wisdom teeth surgery and took her to an art festival with Kate and Ty. We enjoyed some soft foods and the playground together before bringing her home to nap. She is recovering well but the pain meds hit her hard. Her social media posts yesterday were entertaining to say the least. I suspect she will be a bit embarrassed by Monday when she realizes what she chose to share publicly.  I called her twice and asked her to stay off her phone. When Makenna called to inquire, Erin begged her to pick her up and take her out because Justin was being bossy and making her eat jello and rest. Poor Justin had his hands full. Makenna did too as she repeatedly explained she was only fifteen and unable to drive. I was a bit relieved she was no longer living in my house as the reports of the stubborn patient rolled in.

This playground equipment was the highlight of the art festival for the kids, especially Ty. He complained the festival was just for girls and both Erin and I experienced sticker shock while browsing. It was a beautiful day and fun experience anyway.

Friday, August 28, 2015


I told the kids we will be going to an outdoor concert Saturday night to see a friend of Makenna's perform. I thought it would be a fun way to pass some time this weekend since Greg now has to work both days. At 6:30 this morning my son responded as only he could. "What if there's a possum dressed like a good guy there?" Um....well, since I have never encountered that in the past, I think we'll be okay. Lana and I will be there to help if something goes wrong. He barely blinked before deciding, "Well, I could always dress like Spiderman and take care of it myself". Welcome to my world. Also, he's been in school for 22 days. I know this because he informed me he is now 22 days smarter.
Fun Friday around here equals a movie and popcorn for the kids while I read and then an early bedtime sleepover in my bed. I am living the Mommy is worn out dream.

Our weekend holds the promise of crossed-off items on the fall cleaning list. I will most likely break my September first commitment to decorate as well. Sunday seems more reasonable since I won't have babies under foot like I will on Tuesday. Anne was holding me accountable, making sure nothing pumpkin hit the porch or mantel before September but then she confessed to not only purchasing but also consuming candy corn this week. She has lost credibility and is obviously as crazy as me. This is just one reason why we are friends.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Tooth Fairy Visits

Kate lost a tooth just after school yesterday. Ty was pretty bummed he wouldn't be getting a prize from the tooth fairy but Kate would. While the tooth fairy scrounged up enough coins to create a dollar, the going rate for teeth in the Baughman home, she had a few minutes to think about Ty's disappointment. Sometimes the tooth fairy needs to make a point so she wrote Ty a note and left it on his dresser when she made her tooth exchange.

Hi Ty!
I heard you were disappointed I was only going to visit your sister tonight because she lost a tooth. So I checked on you while you were sleeping and noticed you haven’t been brushing your teeth very much. It’s kinda yucky in there! I hope you let the dentist clean your teeth soon. I also would like you to start brushing your teeth better every day so I can bring you a surprise when you lose them. I bring the best prizes to the best teeth. I know you are a big boy who goes to kindergarten so I think you can take good care of your teeth if you wanted to.
Maybe the next time I visit your house I will get to bring something special to you!
The Tooth Fairy

He loved it and took it to school with him. He showed it to one of the helpers in his class and she read it aloud to the kids in his area. She later told Kate he confessed to brushing his teeth three times this morning! Erin has scheduled him for a dental cleaning in her office on Tuesday where I am assured he will not be permitted to negotiate his way out of a cleaning. This will be our fourth attempt. The tooth fairy has gotten desperate.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Kid News

Several changes to my calendar today allowed me the opportunity to visit my favorite elementary students for lunch. Kate was sweet and her teacher beamed when she saw me because Kate had been watching the clock in anticipation of our time together. She elected to not invite a friend to join us and treasured our half hour of uninterrupted bonding. I was then met by the biggest bear hug from my little guy. I love how much he still does that despite being a big kid in school. He chose a buddy to sit on stage with us and that little friend talked as much as Ty which not only amused me but also kept me on my toes. It was non-stop chatter and the content of their conversations was hysterical. After discussing who had crushes on whom, Ty told me about his new library book. Ethan confirmed in the most serious tone it was probably a college level book because it has some pretty big words in it. All the other classmates were trying to get my attention by waving and smiling. It was seriously a cuteness overload. On my way out, I hugged Anne's daughter so other little girls also snagged hugs. I do not happen to know these particular little girls but they didn't seem to mind one way or another. I hope I get to visit again. It was a real treat.

In other news, two of my regular families have special deliveries coming just after Christmas. Both Anna and Devyn will be big sisters. Anna saw her baby sister in an ultra sound last Tuesday and has declared her to be an alligator named Hackey. Much to my dismay, her parents are not letting Anna decide the name.

And Devyn saw her baby brother in an ultra sound today. She initially only accepted a sister as a possibility and wanted to name her Minnie. Once he was determined to be a boy, she first told her mom to have two babies but then decided Mickey would work well. Despite Devyn's helpful suggestions, her parents have named him and she will tell you his full name if you ask. (Hint: Disney is not involved)

Levi still hangs out with me pretty regularly too. He is at such a fun age now that he's mobile and expressive. I am not going to lie though, the prospect of late winter has me a little panicked. Two newborns on top of all these sweet faces could be challenging.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

I Live In A Zoo

Layla is still ornery and I don't suppose she will be outgrowing it anytime soon. She is sweet and doing much better than expected given what we rescued her from; however, there are times I could pull my hair out dealing with her. One day she was laying at my feet in the front yard while I watched the girls play on scooters. All of the sudden I noted Layla was eating something strange and dirt was flying all over the yard. It was a small shrub. She plucked it right out of the landscape and ate it! I was yelling, "why, just why???" as she rolled around the yard as happy as a clam. She feels no guilt. Ever. Devyn redeemed my mood by saying she could see the "not the plant". As in, she could see the hole where a plant used to be! I think a mum may replace it but the hole is nice too. Or not.

Oliver loves my tea bag wrappers and begs for them every morning as I make my tea. I have wadded up tea wrappers hidden throughout my house. He likes to play with them in the middle of the night, tormenting the people who live here as well as the dogs. There was a time they would all be up to greet us in the morning but with Oliver's late night shenanigans, the dogs are too tired to play in the mornings. He's pretty and sweet but has a crazy side too but we only see it when we would rather sleep.

Brutus will be eleven next month. The girls call him Papa Brutus and he's as grumpy as any old man on the planet. He has playful inclinations every once in a while but overall, he just sleeps and whines. He is having a minor surgery this week to deal with the gum disease that has inflamed his entire mouth. We were concerned about the procedure given his age but six months of antibiotics failed to help him. He will feel much better once it's taken care of and blood work revealed he is in excellent health despite his age. I just wish our vet bills at least contributed toward our annual deductibles if we can't claim them on our health insurance.

So as you can imagine, my house is full of hair; people hair and pet hair. I spend an exorbitant amount of time cleaning floors and dusting furniture to contain it all. My vacuum needs cleaned regularly because it is bound full of hair.  The little people in my house along with the animals create a lot of cleaning opportunities. Ahem. The sliding glass door gets cleaned daily and you wouldn't know it. The floors are dust mopped twice a day and the effects remain for minutes, not hours. I am fighting an uphill battle. Two friends have pushed me to investigate the latest home sale craze: Norwex. I priced it and decided it wasn't for me. I would stick with my Shalee, thank you very much. Then one of my friends showed me this video. I was at that point paying attention. She then gave me a travel size enviro cloth. I loved it when I cleaned my home. My second friend then loaned me her polishing cloth and my windows and appliances shined like new.....seriously. It took no muscle work. I used water and the cloths only. My house didn't have that "I just cleaned" smell and it looked amazing in less than half the time I typically spend cleaning. I placed an order and don't mind cleaning my house now that it takes so little time and effort. I would have just shaved everyone but there were strong objections.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Holiday World

Holiday World = proof I love my children. 

I took two teens, three kids and one other adult to Holiday World for the day. It was Ty's first exposure to amusement park rides and he was not impressed. But he loved the water park and spent hours splashing through the playgrounds and jumping waves.
Someone was on the verge of tears. He did not like this at all.

Kate wanted to brave bigger rides but spent the day with her friend who backed out of her plans to experience roller coasters and giant water slides. She hopes to land a trip to Kings Island with Erin next summer to investigate the rides her older sisters love.

On the way home we recounted our favorite rides of the day. Kate and Shelby chose the Wildabeast Water Slide. Makenna and Brooke narrowed it down to the new roller coaster, The Thunderbird. Jenn loved the Rapid Raft ride and Ty simply loved the entire water park. When pressed for my answer, I decided the roasted green beans at lunch were the highlight. Essentially, I survived another round of "ride the bench" while supervising kids and swiping the debit card.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Stealing Dates

The kids complain when Greg makes steaks on the charcoal grill. Suit yourselves young people, suit yourselves.

They ate frozen pizzas before football games and play dates Friday evening so Greg and I stole a few quiet minutes for dinner on the patio.

Makenna decided to bring out the camera to discuss pursuing a photography class and fill us in on details of her day. We politely sent her back inside just as Kate showed up with my phone saying she heard a text alert. I declined the phone and sent her back inside. Within minutes, the dogs were all over the place, the kids were in and out repeatedly and Makenna needed a ride to the game.

This is our life. We need to hide better.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Sweet Success

His top request for the garden this year was watermelon. I hesitated because the vines tend to take over small spaces but couldn't resist his pleas. Tonight he picked his first one.

Clearly he was pleased.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Kindergarten News

So my big guy is getting acclimated to kindergarten. Anne and I love comparing notes as her kindergartener is in the same class with Ty and they have unique perspectives. Between the two, we have a pretty good idea how the class is operated. The teacher has her hands full but is running a smooth operation. Ty and one of his new friends have a secret handshake. Ty's taught it to anyone and everyone; the concept of secret still aloof.

He's writing all his friend's names in a notebook using both capital and lower case letters; a concept he refused for me. He not only knows how to spell their names, he knows what bus route most of the kids in the class take. He is very aware of all that is going on around him at school.

I slipped a love note into his lunch box this week. He got of the bus that afternoon still clutching it in his sweaty little hand. He held it out to me and asked me to read it. I did and reminded him he already knew those words. He then told me Isaiah said he could read it but wouldn't say what it said. Smile.

So the teacher has both the color code behavior system and also a secondary system to help keep track of rules. The second system contains bubbles. If they keep the majority of their bubbles, they earn a piece of gum at the end of the week. These are for minor offenses because there are two little boys in the class screaming at the teacher so moving colors is reserved for these bigger offenses. Ty and his new buddies didn't know the teacher was talking and continued their discussion so all three boys lost one bubble. "It was the worst day ever".  We have assured him there is a big difference between a mistake and willfully breaking the rule. He lost a bubble and learned something. He will be okay and we love him no matter how many bubbles or color changes he receives at school. We are raising children who live in fear of breaking rules at school so the color system stresses them out. The kids yelling at the teacher don't care about the color system. Why do they insist upon a color system?

I sit on my swing as the kids board the bus each morning. I am usually on the swing when they get off too. Ty has asked me to wait on the bus until it swings back by each morning because his side of the bus looks out to our side of the street as it passes. We wave at each other until he is out of sight every morning. How many years do you think he will want this? Kate already doesn't wave. I was thinking about that Friday morning when I went in to tidy up their room and discovered Ty's blanket still folded at the bottom of his bed. It had been there the last three mornings. He isn't sleeping with it much anymore. I busted into our bedroom, startling Greg with a weepy explanation. He was bewildered, as usual.

Ty came home from school Friday with nastiest cold sore outbreak he's had in years. I was prepared for one within the first few weeks of school due to stress and germs but I didn't think it would be this bad because I had been using Lysine in his water for a few weeks prior to school to boost his immunity. He felt awful and grabbed his blanket to watch a movie with me Friday night. Greg grinned and nodded in my direction. Ty is still my baby.  And maybe Greg's wife will settle down already.

The Littles

My days are shaped a little differently now that all of my own children are in school during the day. Last Friday I spent the day with one child. Alone. All day. She is four and not mine. We had a grand adventure running errands and having lunch at Longhorn because the way to Devyn's heart is through a steak. Not kidding. Anyway, Devyn has been talking a lot about her house lately and wanted me to see it. I kept putting her off because it's weird to invite yourself into someone's home. But Devyn is persistent and I was at a loss as to how to entertain this particular child all day.
Whenever we take either of the exits one can take to get to Devyn's town, she reads the sign aloud and then tells me she lives there. As we run errands, she points out streets I could take to get to her house. So, long story short, I allowed her to lead me to her house on Friday even though I continued to insist we couldn't play there because her mommy and daddy were at work. Now before one thinks I have lost my ever loving mind allowing a four year old to provide directions from the back seat, please know this is no typical four year old. She knows exactly what she is talking about and you don't change the order of anything with her around without it being noted. I was headed down the main road when she told me to turn right onto another. As I turned onto that road, she told me to pull into McDonald's because she was hungry. I asked if this was the road to her house and she admitted it wasn't but she would like McDonald's before showing me the rest of the way. Well played, Devyn. Well played. We waited on the steak lunch and she was quite pleased in the long run. 

honest to goodness, she was looking for ripe tomatoes with the telescope (through the wrong end)

Guess who won this game.

She takes her lessons literally. I had apples bouncing all over the kitchen because the word problem said something about six apples.

She is quite the little teacher
I love my families. They text asking how the day was going and I answered with this photo containing a caption about it being under control. They laughed. I work with friends.

Thursday, August 6, 2015


Kate and I work on a creative writing prompt each evening together. She writes in the book while I work alongside her in a spiral notebook. The goal was to help her creative thinking and sentence structure while also getting a few minutes together without interruptions. Our prompt one night this week suggested we were astronauts who just discovered a new planet. Describe the planet. I wrote about a land that was a lot like earth. It had mountains, lakes, oceans, wildlife, trees and incredible skies. On this planet, the air is pure and people can breath more deeply. They feel young and more alive than ever. The fruit on the trees is sweeter than any fruit ever sampled here. When I finished reading my description to Kate, she smiled as she whispered, "Mom, that's Heaven". And she was right. I have been working through a bible study about Heaven by Randy Alcorn and been more than pleasantly surprised by all scripture says about it. The thing that's impressed upon me more than anything is how perfect it will be and how much I want everyone to be there. The reality in our culture though is to stifle the truth of Heaven in order to not offend. How much easier is it to instead believe what an astronaut might discover?

Following Christ and believing He died for us to have everlasting life is taboo. Faith that leads me to love all, serve others and seek ways to make my life on earth matter to those in around me is sadly not what most Christians choose to focus on either. There are rules to be followed, language to be used and facades of holy living to be maintained. Jesus himself spoke rather harshly against this religious act. He called them Pharisees and they exist today, stronger than ever. God's grace is what saves me, not anything I wear, say, do or declare on Facebook will change that. I am forgiven and am free.

I have been reading a book recently about a young woman who lost her mother at age 18 to cancer. It's hitting me hard as I am watching my friends navigate the loss of a father to cancer. This particular woman recounts the struggle to find the Lord after sisters in Christ sat her down to discuss her fashionable boots as being offensive to God, how showing her knees meant she could not love the Lord, and if she was truly seeking the Lord's favor, she would learn to be a better cook for her family. Again, she was 18 and her mother had just lost her battle with cancer. It's any wonder this woman loves the Lord at all in her 30's with the pain of those conversations about Christ lingering in her mind and heart. Sadly, I have heard many first hand accounts of such garbage from others. Listen, we are not in the position to declare anything about anyone's life disturbing God. Frankly, I am having enough trouble navigating my own life, I don't need to mettle in yours. However, I am happy to walk along side you, pray with you and help dust you off when life knocks you down because that is exactly what Jesus would do. I can't get away with pointing any fingers at anyone. It's not my job. There is no peace in it and I am exhausted just thinking about it. Who has time to run the lives of those they encounter? If you think you are entitled to tell someone what you think about the sin in their lives, I think you need to spend sometime meditating on God's word. "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'let me take the speck out of your eye, ' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye." Matthew 7:3-5 We all too often mistake our opinion for God's word. I am a recovering Pharisee myself and perhaps that's why I am so sensitive to this topic of judgement.

The longer I walk with the Lord, the more my heart aches for others. It's sincere. There will still be times I step in something I shouldn't or say something in a manner I don't intend; but my heart and motives are good. I care deeply. The struggles of others pains me and I want to do anything I can to help. God has softened my heart to fill it with that love. I won't measure up to my pharisee friends who are tisk-tisking secular music, the arts and exposed knees. I can't. But I don't know if those friends accept God's grace was a gift for them either. God calls us to live a joyful life in Him. If I am miserable as I struggle to mark all the "good Christians would do this" tasks on some imaginary list, I am missing the point. God isn't concerned with how Christian I appear to others. He cares about my heart and motives. His grace saves me. And His grace saves everyone who seeks Him. Period. I am still learning and growing in this journey and certainly don't profess to have it all worked out but I am grieved by the hardened hearts around me due to the painful conversations or judgements made on behalf of the Lord.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Hump Day

Orange Leaf to get us over the mid-week hump this evening.

 He's made new friends and has a secret handshake with one. He likes school but worries about making a mistake. He listens to everything and concerns himself with following all the rules. School has a lot of rules. Some kids in the class are not concerned about the rules and this upsets him. He worries. A lot.

Sometimes they are friends.

We have been seeking a way to display more advanced Lego creations and this closet maid shelf is working out beautifully. Greg mounted it on the wall high enough for little fingers to be unable to reach it but low enough we can swap out models when the mood strikes one of our builders.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Week in Review

Makenna declared she needed a nap and fell asleep at four on Friday afternoon. She slept for fifteen hours. I kept waking in the night to check on her as if she was a newborn. Apparently school wears a girl out.

Erin suffered a mild concussion at work on Friday. A pumas stone rotating on a wheel grabbed her pony tail and ripped her hair so hard, the impact of her head bent the metal frame supporting the stone. Given the circumstances, we are glad it was the only consequence. Again, I was up quite a bit checking in on Erin throughout the night because allowing someone to sleep through a concussion is dangerous. She was improved but still feeling rough on Saturday. Whereas we hate she was injured, any excuse to have her spend a weekend with us is welcomed

Ty loved school and was eager to go each day but he was tired and grumpy getting off the bus Thursday and Friday afternoons. He almost fell asleep on Thursday but Kate kept him awake until they arrived home. School wears boys out too. The bus is still his favorite part and navigating how to handle boys who push in line on the playground is a skill he has yet to acquire. Kindergarten will be good for him.

I realized I haven't washed costumes in quite some time and noted Ty's clothing choices for school looked like real outfits. It's bittersweet.

I took Kate for support identifying Ty's Lego requests as some of the sets are being clearanced and I am always seeking ways to wrap all things Christmas long before the season actually arrives. Somehow we came home with a generic brand loft bed for her American Girl dolls. It was a great price but also a great Christmas idea. See how that worked out for her? In the end, I saved nothing but we enjoyed both the outing and the assembly process.

Saturday afternoon we stopped by the funeral home to love on our friends. The journey leading them to this point has been long and hard. As difficult as saying good-bye is proving to be for them, seeing Joe suffer for weeks on end was challenging too. Either way, there are kids in pain and a strong woman in need of a break. It's tough to know what to do for hurting people in times like this.