Off to School we Go!

God always, ALWAYS, is with us.  He provided me an opportunity to go on a private retreat the first weekend of August.  At this point, only Benjamin was accepted into school.  The others were on the waitlist in positions ranging from 10-27, which didn’t look too hopeful.  I struggled with grabbing back the familiar and the control.  It’s my default move to just take it all back and not trust in the bigger plan.  But, God patiently and lovingly spoke to me: to my heart in adoration and through the books I read.  I called Patrick and was so confident in God’s will for us that I was able to speak my need clearly and succinctly.  We had to enroll the kids in school and UME was the right school for us.  If they didn’t get in at first, then Patrick agreed to oversee the daily checklist and grading the Math and I would oversee the school during the day.  Our intermediate plan was to homeschool until they were accepted.  The next week a friend alerted me that the kids may not be listed as Benjamin’s siblings, which would affect the waitlist status.  Sure enough, when I called the school we discovered that a change in the computer system had left them detached from Benjamin.  When this error was corrected all the kids were moved up to positions ranging from 1 to 10.  It was a little sliver of hope and encouragement.

Benjamin started school on August 17.  I took all six kids with me to the Open House, so that in the event they were admitted they would be familiar with the school and some of the teachers.  Patrick was supposed to go with us, but his dentist appointment ran long and he could no longer meet up with us.  This event alone would have put me into a full panic attack just a mere 6 months ago.  But, God equips us to do His will.  There was no anxiety within me.  We saw a few families that we knew, but mostly it felt as if we just floated from room to room in a bubble, met the teachers we needed to meet and I left feeling excited and at peace about the new possibilities.  This is God’s grace in action.

By Friday, Daniel, Samuel and Sophia were enrolled.  One week later Joshua began his first day of 7th grade.  It only took 10 days for five of the six kids to be fully enrolled!  While I was on retreat, it looked like it could be the next semester or not at all; but, God was just giving me the opportunity to put my trust in Him.  He is such a loving, gentle and patient teacher.

So, we happily pack our lunches and backpacks, the kids cheerily skip off to school each morning and I sit drinking my coffee and lay by the pool soaking in the quiet.  Not a all.  The early mornings are a definite struggle.  Patrick oversees breakfast, getting the kids awake and dressed, and takes them to Shelly’s. (We carpool with a friend, but our car is the only one big enough to carry everyone, so it’s quite the system of exchanging vehicles in order to get the kids from point A to point B; but, it is also quite a blessing).  I haven’t slept well since school started, so my rising and my movement is very slow and limited.  I manage to get a few tasks accomplished and then I go to pick the kids up.  It is a 25 minute drive one direction.  We arrive home and dig into homework, which leads directly into dinner preparation and clean up, family reading time, prayers and bedtime.  This six-hour period of constant activity leaves me feeling like a wrung out washrag.  At the same time, Patrick is finishing a fourteen-hour work day and isn’t in much better shape.  After a week, the kids excitement and fascination with going to school has worn off and it takes a little more effort to get everyone motivated and moving.  Homeschooling was actually much easier and more efficient.  I won’t lie, I’ve already thought about throwing in the towel.

I was actually contemplating if we had made a huge mistake by putting them in school when I saw a video that my doctor posted on Facebook.  He spoke about walking through the fire.  He said things like “we always have something to learn” and “maybe it’s not about us, but about what other people see in our journey.” BAM!  God lead us to this path.  We are here at this moment, in this place for a reason.  It is hard, brutally difficult and challenging.  It is especially a struggle because I know that the hardships we are facing to make this school thing happen can be relieved by just going back to homeschooling.  But, I can not–must not–look back.  No, comparison and “what ifs” are the handy  work of the enemy.  God is calling us to go forward, to trust in Him completely.  He has a plan for us and the lesson in it is not only for me.  God wants to use our family and our story to show His goodness.  I will not stand in His way.

I beg your prayers for us during this time of transition.  We really are feeling the physical effects of this effort.  Pray for strength for us, for perseverance for all, and for all to learn the lesson that God is teaching us through the experience.  Thank you for journeying with me.

UPDATE:  In the midst of this transition, we have a new granddaughter!  Savannah Grace made her appearance at 5 am this morning.  And this Saturday we will gain a son when our daughter, Lauren celebrates the Sacrament of Matrimony with Matthew Perrier.  Such blessings in our lives!!  All Praise and Glory to God be given.

Advertisements

A Letter of Encouragement

Dear Lindsey,

I don’t remember catching your last name, but I wanted to tell you “Thanks!”  I really enjoyed getting my baby fix at Mass on Monday.  We attended church in Mansfield (not our regular parish) when your beautiful 2/3 year old girl caught my attention right after communion.  As you passed by our pew, she was voicing her opinion and knew she had you right where she wanted you!  Your hands were full with the new baby and the three other young girls in tow, so as you tried to reign the toddler in, she knew she had the upper hand.  I remember those days well!  I quickly whispered for my children to stay together and followed you back to the cry room.  “Let me help you, Momma,” I said. And you gave the baby to me without hesitation.  Thank you!

I miss the softness of a new baby’s head.  I miss the rocking motion and holding that little life in my arms.  Your baby was so precious, but your toddler tugged my heart strings just as much!  Strong and independent, she was not afraid to rebel and state her case.  You were awesome with her.  You firmly and persistently reminded her of the rules and stood your ground (or squatted at face level) until she verbally acknowledged you.  Then, you turned to the three other girls and reminded them not to climb, not to sit on  the sill, and that Jesus was present in the church.  You may have left Mass that day wondering if it was all worth the effort.  It was!

Everyone who witnessed your attendance at Mass, witnessed evangelization in motion.  While most adults make excuses to not attend a Holy Day Mass and most children aren’t even aware they exist, you came. You prayed. You conquered 5 small children by yourself for 95% of the Mass.  And you are living the example for your children to follow, which is even more valuable than all the above.  Yes, I have lots of kids too; but, my children were spaced out until the last six.  When my younger six arrived back-to-back, I already had older ones that could help hold a baby or reign in a toddler.  I rarely had to take them anywhere alone, if I took (take) them at all.

Not only did you take the girls to church, I imagine that most of your errands have all 5 kids in tow as well.  I just want to say, Keep up the good work.  You will be rewarded in ways that you cannot even imagine.  Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help because it may be just as much of a blessing to your helper as it is to you–maybe even more.  Because of my own family and health limitations I don’t get to offer help to young mothers like I want to, my own daughter included.  Just being able to help those last few moments of Mass was an amazing gift to me.  I hope to meet you again soon!  Until then, God’s blessings upon you and your family!

Sincerely,

Jill

Team Mach

Our chore list with color coded assignments

Our chore list with color coded assignments

I was dining with a friend recently and she posed the questions: How do you get your children to do chores?  And What do you do when they don’t follow through?  Since the same topic came up with another friend today, I thought it might be good to share our experiences with you as well.  First, we (my husband and I) have always agreed that children should have chores that fit their ability according to age and maturity.  Likewise, they have privileges that also meet their ability according to age and maturity.  Responsibility and Freedom go hand-in-hand and this is how we pass that knowledge on to our children.   We are a family and as a family we have to work together as a team.  When someone gets sick or is unable to fulfill his/her duty, the rest of us jump in to take care of that member of the family and cover their chores.  Everyone will be in a position of needing family support and every person will also be in a position to offer service to benefit the other members.  The family is the Domestic Church.  That means it is a place to experience God’s love through our parents, offer service to others, receive the support we need, as well as put into practice being virtuous, while pruning our vices.

Living out our vocation as parents is always a work in progress.  As Karen has told me, “We get to get up and make our bed again every day.”  I think that is a wise and merciful insight to the old saying, “You made your bed, now you can lie in it.”  Once we realize that we are all humans who make mistakes, we can begin to be more patient with ourselves, our spouses and our children.  Having realistic expectations is a concept that I am continuously working towards.  So, how do we get our children to do chores?  We begin when they are little. Toddlers naturally want to help us.  Capitalize on that natural desire by letting them help.  Yes, it will take longer to complete the task in the short term, but we are working towards a long term goal of raising independent adults.  A three year old can easily sort silverware into the drawer, or set napkins at each place at the table.

If, like my friend, your children are past the toddler stage, it is not too late to make them a team player!  In order to be a team player, they will need to know the rules of the game, who is on the team, and how you win the game.  Everyone wants to be on a winning team.   Every August, just before we start back to school, we have a family meeting.  This is a natural time to come together and review how we are doing as a team and what changes we can make to improve.  Our children are growing and so are their abilities to serve and their need for more independence.    Here are some guidelines for the meeting:

DO

  1. Have a husband and wife meeting to get on the same page before presenting ideas to the kids
  2. Acknowledge each person’s contributions to the family over the past year
  3. Ask what kind of family everyone would like to have (do we need to spend more time together, less fighting, more family meals, etc)
  4. Guide the discussion towards positive solutions to make your dream family a reality
  5. Allow the children to choose the service they wish to provide (this can be done in a very structured format with gentle parental guidance)

DON’T

  1. Make this a time for berating or discipline.  If there are issues they should be done in private with the particular child.
  2. Undermine the other parent in front of the children.
  3. Announce what chores each child will do without allowing their input in the discussion
  4. Be negative

After a short discussion on the kind of family you want to be, explain how each person’s contributions to the family are critical to making that dream come true.  This is where I post all the chores and allow the children to begin volunteering.  This is a guided exercise and some chores are “assigned” if there is only one child who is truly able to complete the task, or only one task a child is capable of doing.  The point of the exercise is for the children to feel empowered, to feel that he or she is a part of the team.  After this, state your expectations clearly.  For example, “I will post the new chore assignments on the board.  I will remind you one time to complete your task.  There will be no play time, video games, going out with friends, etc. until your chores are completed.”

Our August 2, 2014 meeting in progress

Our August 2, 2014 meeting in progress

In my post last year, I explained in detail how our positive incentive system works.  I stand by this system 100% and we still continue to utilize it with much success.  In fact, it has had the added bonus of teaching fiscal responsibility (ie. purchasing quality items for the long term vs. cheap toys that last less than a day).  The combination of allowing the children to be a part of the process and acknowledging their contributions and effort is the HOW in getting our children to do their chores.  Now, what do we do when that isn’t enough?  Well, I have screamed, threatened, grounded, fought, pleaded, whined, and cried.  None of that worked with much success.  Then my logical, even-keeled husband reminded me that we already established consequences.  I ask once, maybe give another gentle reminder of the consequences, but when that  fails to get the job done, I simply and calmly say, “I’m sorry.  You can’t do ________ because you didn’t do “x”.”  If the child continues to argue, I simply and calmly state, “This is not up for debate.  We agreed that you would do “x” before you could do “z”.”  Then you have to learn how to allow them to be upset with you.  In fact, they are not really upset with your, they are really upset at themselves for not holding up their end of the bargain, but it is easier to take it out on you.  The reality is that you have just earned their respect.  You set a boundary.  You set clear, realistic expectations and you followed through.  You were honest and just.  If you are consistent it won’t take long before your kids will be team players and you WILL have a winning team.  Now get out there and win, win, WIN!

NFP Awareness Week

NFP is an acronym well-known in many Catholic circles, but not recognized by all Catholics and certainly not understood in the secular society. NFP stands for Natural Family Planning and it is NOT your mother’s rhythm method. Last night I asked my husband if he was aware that this was NFP Awareness week. He quipped, “I am well aware!” I can only laugh because with my poor health, practicing NFP has been both a blessing and a cross. Isn’t that true of love? It brings us great pleasure and abundant blessings, but can be unbearably painful as well. Christ is love and he calls us to love completely too. This is why the Catholic Church puts forth NFP for married couples and denounces all forms of contraception, because she calls us to utter and complete love knowing the true cost is a laying down of our lives.

 

I didn’t understand this in my youth. Oh, I argued against the Church’s teaching on pre-marital sex and contraception. I mean, if you love somebody . . . Ah, the ignorance of youth. Early in my marriage I was called to a deeper understanding. After experiencing depression and the reality of my new marriage: mainly being the second wife and realizing that my husband had had relations with another woman, had a child with another woman, that another woman had lived in the home in which I was residing and that she would continue to be a part of our lives for the duration of their daughter’s life. I wondered who I was and what I brought to this marriage. I wondered if I could ever have a greater bond with my husband than he had with his first wife. This was my first taste of the truth that sex bonds and that the Church’s teaching on marriage and divorce had great significance. Accepting this truth opened my heart to the teaching on contraception. As I sat crying, I asked Mary to guide me. I asked God what I was supposed to do.   The answer came almost instantaneously: I was to be the best step mother I could be and I needed to obey the Church in all things. My heart was forever changed. Patrick supported me without question and I delved into learning NFP from a book that I had checked out at the library. I had never heard NFP mentioned at church. I had no knowledge of the teachers and support groups that existed in our diocese. We gave my body three months to clear the carcinogens and then it took three more months to conceive Lauren Elizabeth. Every child born since that time was not necessarily expected, as we can never be so presumptuous of God’s gifts, but each child was known to be a possibility. We were open to that possibility, we were aware of that possibility, but we did not necessarily always count on that possibility becoming a reality. In other words, there were times that bringing a new life into our family didn’t seem to be optimal from our point of view; but, we still engaged in activities that made new life possible. This is what makes NFP so radically different from contraception. God gives total control of that decision to us in the very moment that life can be created. It is still dependent on His will, but we choose how we live out our wills in that moment.

 

This is not something that is easily explained in line at the grocery store when, after finding out how many children we have, we are asked, “Are you going to have any more?” There is not time for a theological discussion and I could never answer “no” even when my body is screaming at me from being overwhelmed and overburdened. I have finally come up with a charitable reply and have exercised it once with good results. To the receptionist at a doctor’s office I calmly sighed and said, “I’m not sure what you are asking. Are you asking if my husband and I will continue to have marital relations? Because if you are, the answer is a definite, Yes!” At this point, the conversation will get awkwardly quiet. This is because the statement makes the person realize that they have just asked a deeply private and intimate question. The intention is not to make the person feel embarrassed or awkward, but to make them think more deeply about their question. We should be thinking more deeply about life and stop taking the creation and extermination of human life so glibly. I broke the silence with explaining that we are open to life and use NFP to plan and space our births, but ultimately it is up to God to decide if we will be blessed with another child. Sometimes the conversation can go much deeper if the person is open to learning more about NFP.  These are great opportunities to evangelize.

 

Even greater than the opportunity to participate in the planning of life, NFP has extraordinary health benefits. The doctors, through encouragement of Pope Paul VI and his encyclical letter, Humane Vitae (a must read!) have researched and discovered so many new and amazing things about the female reproductive system. Now, they are able to treat infertility with a 50-80% success rate (vs 10-60% for IVF), as well as treat heavy bleeding, PMS, endometriosis, ovarian cysts and a host of other hormone related ailments. In other words, NFP is allowing for natural healing at the underlying causes of these issues vs. prescribing chemical contraception, performing invasive surgeries, or performing unethical procedures like IVF (In Vitro Fertilizaion).

 

Through the use of NFP I have come to know my body intimately and have been empowered to trust myself and my intuitions. My husband and I have an amazing marriage. His sacrifice and mine in practicing NFP continually call us to communicate about intimate matters that we humans tend to avoid. It is a way for us to lay down our lives for one another and lift each other up during the difficulties. It is not always easy, but it is always rewarding. The best gift married couples can give one another is the gift of themselves and NFP allows that to happen without our selfish wills obscuring our view.

 

For more information on NFP, visit the Creighton University site for NaPro Technology.   For couples, engaged or married, I highly recommend Simcha Fisher’s book, A Sinner’s Guide to Natural Family Planning. This is the most down to earth, realistic discussion on NFP ever penned. Also, this site has great articles that delve into the various subjects surrounding the use of contraception and NFP.

 

Happy NFP Awareness Week! Now you know 😉

Home Again, Home Again


It is always a wonderful thing to return home no matter the length of the journey.  The last time the kids and I made the trek to Green Bay and back, it took us 10 days.  I said last time that 10 days was too long, so, of course, when I planned this trip I extended it to 14 days.  When will I learn?  I truly enjoyed the visits and excursions along the way, but it pushed me to my physical limits to be the only parent (God bless single parents!) for 14 days.  The kids woke no later than 7am and went to bed no earlier than 10 pm on average.  This was mostly due to the long summer days, but also to the break in schedule and sleeping arrangements.

We arrived back in Omaha on Wednesday around 3pm.  It was almost like being home.  The kids had a glorious time playing with their cousins and I got to hold a baby!  image We didn’t get to see my nephew until the following evening, but that was okay because he was busy helping to bring new life into the world.  I learned he is nicknamed Dr. Midwife because he stays with his patients.  How awesome is that?  My super cool nephew/pro-life doctor—I couldn’t be more proud.  Of course, I can’t sing his praises without singing the praises of his beautiful wife and the mother of four.  This family is a role model for me.  They are so gentle and patient and willing to serve one another.  After Kevin returned home at midnight from the delivery, he left at 6:30 am to return to work.  When he walked in the door at 5:30pm that evening he was all smiles and ready to jump in with dinner and the kids—and not just his kids, mine too.  Meg was looking out for him as well:  did he want to get a shower, or change of clothes?  I so admire how they love one another.

Friday was the 4th of July and little did I know that Nebraskans love their fireworks.  Yes, they do!  For days before and days after, the fireworks start around 4pm and continue until 10pm, except on the 4th when everyone is out in the street shooting off fireworks until midnight or later.  And by everyone, I mean 8 out of 10 home residents have purchased fireworks and are in the middle of the street setting them off.  It was really amazing.  I thought my little ones would be scared, but they loved it and my boys especially ate it up.  I went out for a short while, but felt like I was in the middle of a battlefield with shots coming from all directions (no offense to those who really know what being in the middle of a battlefield is like).  My mommy hormones were all like, “protect the kids!  Danger! Danger!  Fire!” while the logical side of me was saying, “This is really cool.  Oh! Look at all those colors!”  The mommy side won out and I let Kevin manage the crew.  The best part of the day, however, was that we got to pick Lauren up and spend the entire day with her.

The Crossroads walkers meet Lauren's stick figure family in Omaha, NE

The Crossroads walkers meet Lauren’s stick figure family in Omaha, NE

She looks great and healthy.  You couldn’t even tell that she has a strep and staph infection.  Thank goodness for her strong immune system.  It was a nice, relaxing day with family and we had great food to fill our bodies.  Truly living the American Dream.

Alli fixed our windshield wipers which were reversed.  I didn't know there was a right and a left.

Alli fixed our windshield wipers which were reversed. I didn’t know there was a right and a left.

We headed home on Saturday at 6am.  It had been storming again, but we got a lull just long enough to load up.  I had to stop for ice and oil for the car—thank you nice gentleman who helped me get the oil cap off—and then we hit the road.  We took more breaks on the drive home as our tolerance for extended driving was shrinking fairly quickly.  Lunch at a park on Random Rd. was enjoyable and we even saw a fawn emerging from the adjacent creek bed.  The next six hours felt like ten and each mile crept by as if we were walking instead of driving 75mph.  I didn’t let Allison drive as the wind gusts were pretty tough and I was concerned about her going so fast and tolerating the gusts—being a new driver and all.  Also, if she was driving, I would have to manage the six overtired, grumpy and demanding children that were riding in the back seat.

Yay for iPads and DVD players!

Yay for iPads and DVD players!

I truly don’t think my nerves could handle it.  We got home at 6:30pm and Patrick had an awesome meal waiting for us to gobble up: steak, asparagus, potatoes, zucchini, green beans, ranch beans, mac n’ cheese, and a salad!  I took a shower, unpacked a few things and fell sound asleep by 8pm.  That was one tired momma!  It was a good trip with memories to last a lifetime.

St. Christopher, St. Raphael and St. Michael, thank you for watching over us on our journey.  Join us in giving thanks to God Almighty for a safe trip.  In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen.

Green Bay and Back

My last day in Omaha was a miserable one for me, but a great day for the kids. I had my first migraine in over ten years and weighed my options about heading back home or risking driving another day’s distance farther away. The combination of lack of sleep, being the only parent on duty and allergies fueled the headache. My friend took the kids to the zoo while I attempted to rest. In the end, Motrin did its duty and my headache dulled. I gave in and took Advil PM and went to bed at 9pm. Most importantly I prayed for direction, literally direction: should I keep heading north or turn south?

After a sound night of sleep, I awoke to thunder and lightning in the distance.  It was already bright outside, but the clock said it was only 5 am.  I rolled over to sleep for another hour or two, but the sound of the approaching storm threw out a warning flag and I didn’t want to load the car and kids in the pouring rain.  We hit the road by 5:30 and I felt great the whole day.

Lunch in SW Wisconsin.  Yes, Sophia is still in PJ's. We didn't dress the kids at 5 in the am. Lol

Lunch in SW Wisconsin. Yes, Sophia is still in PJ’s. We didn’t dress the kids at 5 in the am. Lol

Nap time success.  Another bribe, er, reward of ice cream worked wonders

Nap time success. Another bribe, er, reward of ice cream worked wonders

In fact I felt great every day we were in Green Bay and we packed in the adventures.  On Friday we celebrated the 50th anniversary of my aunt and uncle beginning with Mass at the church where my parents were married as well.  Saturday morning we reunited with 1st, 2nd and 3rd cousins of the Allen kind complete with an ancestry presentation dating back to the late 1800’s.  I love that kind of thing, especially when you can look around the room and see the faces to go with the names, well, at least some of the faces.

 

On Saturday afternoon Patrick, Joshua and I (Patrick flew in for the weekend) grabbed some Kroll’s hamburgers and headed to St. Lawrence Seminary High School, one of the few remaining high school seminaries in the country.  My father attended St. Lawrence as well, so the visit was as nostalgic as it was a prospective student visit.  The grounds and buildings are extremely well maintained and we were impressed with the academic standards as well as the variety of sports and extra curricular activities.  Although the tuition is high for our budget, it is extraordinarily affordable for all that it offers: education, room, board, sports, and spiritual direction to name a few.  We have a few years to discern, but Josh is over the moon at the thought of it.

 

On Sunday we went to Mass at the Shrine of our Lady of Good Help.  I felt transported to another world during the beautiful Mass and was overjoyed that Patrick got to visit the Shrine as well.   When we visited two years ago he wasn’t with us.  Back at my Aunt Rose’s house we visited with my cousins and enjoyed Booyah, a Green Bay specialty, and homemade cookies.  Patrick returned to Texas and the kids and I headed out to Bay Beach on Monday morning.  Bay Beach is a quaint amusement park on the shores of Green Bay.  I have fond memories of going there as a child and it is special for me to pass that on to my own children.  Admission is free and the rides are by tickets that are a mere 25 cents apiece.  Unfortunately my migraine returned along with an upset stomach. After a few hours we had to leave.  The littles and I took two-hour naps and my stamina slowly returned.  Poor Daniel was so upset that he didn’t get to ride the slide!  He remembered being too small last time and was devastated to miss the opportunity again.  Allison and Aunt Rose came to his rescue and took him back for a quick slide ride followed by a grocery store run.  It has been the highlight of his trip.

 

Bay Beach train ride

Bay Beach train ride

Today we left Green Bay and drove three hours to Barneveld, WI.  There is a quaint hotel here called Deer Valley Lodge.  I saw it on the drive up and noticed that it had a small waterpark as well.  When we checked in they didn’t bat an eye at seven children and one adult.  For $130 a night we got a suite with full access to the waterpark and breakfast!  This is the complete opposite experience of our last hotel adventure for the same price.  Thank you, God!

 

Splash time!

Splash time!

Tomorrow we head back to Omaha to visit my nephew and his incredible family.  As a bonus we will see Lauren on Saturday before heading home on Sunday.  I’ll update you soon.  Thanks for checking in.

Day 1 Omaha or Bust

Yesterday we drove from Texas to Omaha, Nebraska (or New Braska if you ask Daniel).     We wanted to beat traffic, so we all got up at 6:30 and started to pile in the car.  It started pouring down rain as we were loading, so I shifted gears and dug out breakfast while we had garage shelter.  Neither Allison nor I had the desire to dig through the cooler while getting soaked to the bone.  This delayed our departure by 15 minutes but the trade off seemed well worth it.  Kisses to Patrick and waves good-bye and we were off!  Thirty minutes later my texting secretary (aka Allison) sent Patrick an update.

image

It normally takes 8 minutes from our driveway to the 820/I20 split.  And things weren’t looking any better up ahead.  The radio warned us of an overturned truck further north on I35 and the rain was just getting started.  We could have slept in and left at 9:00am and been in just as good of shape.  Hindsight is 20/20 though and the past cannot be changed, so as all good mothers would do I had the kids put on a movie.  At 7:45 am, a voice came from the back, “Are we in New Braska?”  Nope.  Not even out of Ft. Worth.  It was looking like a long day ahead, but the movie brought calm and made time move more quickly for those who were entranced by it.

 

i tried to get video of our theme song, but it appears that the younger three have no memory of the song and the middle three were too busy with electronic distractions to care, so it was a most pitiful rendition of “Me and My Gang.”   Here is a selfie that Allison took.  Joshua looks like he is on a roller coaster.  I was not going that fast!  No, really.

image

Oklahoma blessed us with sunshine not soon after crossing the Red River.  We stopped at quaint park in Guthrie for lunch and then it was nap time!  No tv’s, no iPads, just books and a quiet rest.  Not.  My overtired children fought the idea entirely until I bribed them with ice cream two hours later.  Just when the last head started bobbing, I was the one ready for a break.  We pushed through for another 40 minutes and stopped on the Kansas turnpike for ice cream at Hardee’s.  Then I let Allison have the wheel.  It took a few minutes to adjust as she is not used to driving the suburban at 75 mph with no rear view, but she did great and so did I once my Stresszyme took effect.

image

It took 13 hours and 6 minutes to reach our destination, but it was a good trip and we are happy to be in Omaha enjoying green grass, cooler temperatures and spending time with good friends–the kind where you just pick up where you left off the last time and wish that you never had to leave.  Here are some pics for your enjoyment.

We weren't playing the song he wanted to hear

We weren’t playing the song he wanted to hear

Ben loves the green grass without stickers or fire ants

Ben loves the green grass without stickers or fire ants