"The real winners in life are people who look at every situation with an expectation that they can make it work or make it better." - Barbara Pletcher

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

New Spot.

Took the wild crazy beasts children to a new spot today.  Well, I should say, the spot isn't new (I think Morrill Hall is celebrating their 140th anniversary, in fact!) but I hadn't ever taken my kids.  When I told the kids we were going to a dinosaur museum, I think half of them assumed it would be much like going to the zoo.  With live animals.  Imagine their surprise when nothing in the entire building was moving :)  It was a fun morning!  I forgot my camera, which was kind of nice.  One less thing to keep track of, and it turned out there was a lot of keeping track of going on today.  That place is full of wide open space which was really, really, really hard not to run through!

Some quick phone pics:

 How many hours could we stand here and watch loose change roll into this bin?  I would bet, several.

When I was a kid, they had an area where you could go to "dig" for fossils.  You'd find a little tiny fossil and you could tape it to a piece of paper and take it home.  No longer!  They have a larger digging area now, and the kids had fun.  It just wasn't the same :)

This is what I like to see.  Rowen and Maryn, courting.  

Of course we'd find a stage and put on a show or two while we were here!  That's just how we roll.

See Reise's face?  In the next split second, Reise started to cry because no one wanted to perform her number, and we decided it was time to leave.

Have we talked about the Stringbeans song we're listening to about Nebraska?  I think we have.  There's a part in it... "Our Woolly Mammoth fossil, is the largest ever found..." so, we got to see that.  And, we ran across a Meadowlark, which is the state bird (and also featured in the song), so that was fun!  

It was a great morning, and we'll go back.  There's a Planetarium there, and they have shows on the weekends.  Ryleigh is really interested in outer space right now, and I think she would love it.  It's super affordable for the whole family to go, so I think we just might do that very soon.

In the meantime, we're going to be making fossil prints out of coffee grounds and flour.  I love homeschool! :)

Choosing to love,

Friday, January 21, 2011

Yeah, baby.

It's the little things in life, ya know?  Rowen goes around saying "yeah, baby" whenever he loves something, and he throws in a little shoulder action for affect. 

We're just now replacing these counter tops.  I've hated them since we moved in, but as time went on I just stopped "seeing" them. 

The busier we got the less motivated I was to start messing with stuff that didn't seem necessary.  Silly me.  Stuff like this is definitely necessary.  Even if we never sell this house, I deserve to enjoy my kitchen.  I'm in it several hours every day, for goodness' sake. 

What a good uncle, letting Rugger help.   

My awesome sleepers snoozed away this afternoon through the pounding and sawing, and viola, they were done!  Thanks to my super great brother-in-law for helping a girl out :)  Thanks to my handsome husband for spending two evenings this week tracking down the right pieces.  It required several trips to Home Depot with all the kids while I was either working or out of town.

Why didn't we do this sooner??  Yeah, baby...I love the difference!  

So, we're going to finish the floor this weekend (we need new kick boards, see the bare space between the floor and the cabinets?), and make a decision on the cabinets.  See the two holes in each cabinet door?  I removed the old hardware (except for the two doors that still have those pulls-don't ask why I left them).  We've either got to fill those holes and stain that part of the door, or fill the holes and paint everything, or cover the holes with new hardware.

Any opinions??

Think about This for Thirteen minutes

Has anyone ever seen this website? donothingfor2minutes.com  Interesting. 

With permission, I'm sharing Tyler's video here.  I usually blog about my little chickens and the stuff that fills our days.  Things I love and want to document so I'll never forget.  My days are full.  When I saw that this video was almost 13 minutes long I said, "I can't commit to that".   A few of you might actually know what could happen around here if I left things unattended for 13 minutes.  I went back later to check it out, and was blown away.  Homosexuality has always been an issue I didn't understand, didn't know anything about, and pretty much left alone.  It still is an issue that I don't fully understand, know very little about, and will probably leave alone for the most part.  But, if there's an opportunity for me to learn something and try to love people better, I welcome it.  I am grateful to Tyler for sharing his perspective, and trying to shed some light on a topic that is so personal to him and misunderstood by so many.  He's extremely articulate, honest, and puts into words what I've always assumed.  I'm sharing it here because I think it could change your perspective, too.  At the very least, challenge you to learn something that could help you love someone better.  So, block out 13 minutes and grab a diet coke.  I don't think you'll regret it.

I think it's really reasonable to assume that the same God who creates people with short tempers creates people who are attracted to those of the same sex.  Oversimplified?  Yep, but I think it's a good place to start.  At the end of the day, every person can choose to act how God wants them to, regardless of how they feel. 

At least, that's what I think.

What do you think??

Choosing to love,

Thursday, January 20, 2011

This boy...

is (hopefully) all done with ear infections.  For all the whining, crying, screaming and general fit-throwing this boy can do, he sure acted like a tube-gettin' professional today.  The sweet boy didn't even eek out a whimper, much less shed a tear. 

Here's to...

sleeping through the night,

fewer trips to the doctor,

fewer trips to the pharmacy,

not being irritable all. day. long. (him and ME!).

I hope we have our regular ol' naughty, spoiled, spirited, charismatic, silly, entertaining, loving, hilarious, sweet, adorable little 2yr old back.  We've missed him! 

Choosing to love,

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Sunday School

It's been a long time since we had a "normal" weekend.  I don't even know where they all went...between holidays and several birthday weekends, they just disappeared!  The kind where we carefully balance work and fun, and prepare for the next week.  On Sundays, church is followed by lunch, which is followed by naps for DJ Steele and the little kids.  Please believe that DJ Steele needs that nap, probably more than the little kids do!  I think he's finally acknowledged the fact that he's too old to be clubbing until 2am, tearing down, loading up, and driving an hour home.  (4:30am bedtime doesn't look good on him, unless we're in VEGAS, I'm sorry to say it.)  Anyway!!  Sunday afternoons have become a golden time for us to "do" school.   

For some reason, we get more done on Sundays than during a normal week day.  I'm not really sure why.  I think maybe the break in routine makes it seem different and more interesting.  On Sundays I'm usually pre-making meals or cleaning in the kitchen, so we move the books upstairs.  Maybe just a change of scenery does it.  Maybe I'm more relaxed because I'm not watching the clock or listening for a waking toddler.  Whatever the case may be, I'm glad to have them back.  Those normal weekends with late night gigs, early morning church, and quiet afternoons for school.  

Choosing to love,

Monday, January 17, 2011

This is good stuff.

It feels good, to have this much family around.  I know I take it for granted most of the time. 

 Photo by Dave Rowe, my new photography club buddy (aka, my brother)!  

Every time we leave somewhere (anywhere) I ask each kid what their favorite part was.  Rugger's usually has to do with the food, Ryleigh usually says "everything", Rowen and Maeson copy whatever Ryleigh says, and Reise's answer is never predictable.   Unless, we've been around a baby.  Then it's always "holding the baby".  Last night was no exception.  She loves, loves, loves her baby Dominick!!

I love, love, love this scene.  It's noisy, but not deafening.  It's comfortable.  Kids ask whoever is nearest to them for more food, water, silverware, etc.  Babies are passed, there's a lot of up and down, and the adults usually eat standing up.  These days, the kids occupy nearly every chair in the house. 

I love this kind of chaos.  This is good stuff.  We will do this more often.

My kids are fortunate to have living Great Grandparents.  Again, I know we take this for granted.  We love being able to spend time with my Lao and Pao pretty regularly!  Since I had no daycare kids today (Thank you, MLK Jr.!), we paid a visit to some special people we don't see as often.

My Grandpa was literally asleep two seconds before I said "smile", and then he jerked his head up and gave us a big one.  So. Dang. Sweet.  Ryleigh worried that it was kind of mean to wake him up.  I told her I bet he didn't mind, and he went back to sleep as fast as he woke up :) 

It's kind of sad that my kids will never know the man who always carried a jar of peanuts and could fix anything.  That's just the way it goes.  I know he doesn't have any clue who we are, but it doesn't really matter.  Surely seeing those little faces brightens that one moment of his day, and that's a great thing.  This is good stuff.  We will do this more often.

Mitch's grandparents, in Beatrice.

Scooby Doo was playing directly behind me.  This is surely the reason for the weird smiles and blank stares you see here!  HAHA!!  We turned off the movie, dragged out the toys, and managed to leave without breaking anything (that I'm aware of).  $100 says Grandma and Grandpa took a nice nap after we left :)  Next time we'll turn Scooby off before we take pictures, and we'll go when Mitch can come with because he was sad he missed out!

Grandpa told me he met his buddies for coffee this morning.  Grandma took her sister to the doctor.  There is a phone in their basement that's at least 30 years old, which we saw because the kids were obsessed with seeing what was down there.  I learned about the German Buss's and the English Buss's.

 This is good stuff.  We will do this more often. 

Choosing to love,

Sunday, January 16, 2011


I was sitting at the computer yesterday afternoon paying bills, prepping for taxes, typing out my daycare and school schedule for the next two weeks, ETC., when I notice a scribbled note on one of the many lists laying on the desk.  "NEED: Balance".  I had written it a few weeks ago when I was planning our math lessons and needed to find an actual balance.  But, at that moment I forgot that's where it came from and thought maybe it was a message from above.  :)  "Dear Becky, this is God.  Go play."  So, I mentally calculated and confirmed that we'd done enough cleaning/organizing/schooling/working for the day and yelled, "WE'RE GOING SLEDDING!!!". 

Here's to Balance.  A fun, fun, fun afternoon with my favorites.

The fact that it was 18* and we felt like it was warm enough for outdoor play tells you how cold it's been here.

I told my handsome husband on the way out the door that I hoped we'd run into everyone we knew, and hoped they'd all have their cameras.  That's how awesome my get-up looked!  Why do all of our children have appropriate winter gear, and I'm wearing two pairs of work-out pants?  They did the job tho, by golly.  I was super warm and dry, and as far as I know, it wasn't seen by anyone we know!

It took us exactly 38 minutes to bundle up five children and ourselves, collect our sleds, and load up into the van.  38 minutes!  Gone are the days of deciding to do something and being out the door in "five". 

It was totally worth it.

Maeson could run all the way down the hill in those boots without falling.  He'd hustle down after whoever was riding yelling "You OKAY???!!!"  Every. Single. Time. 

Of course Reise requested a ride up the hill after each trip.  Of course Rugger tried to oblige. 

It was so. much. fun.  After a while I decided to take a turn down the hill, and the rest was history.  Turns out my added weight makes that thing fly.  Hilarious!!!  What a blast.  

Gosh, I love balance.  We had a super fun afternoon and came home to groceries done, laundry going, bills paid, and the house picked up.  Praise. The. Lord.  I love it when it works out like that.

Choosing to love,

Saturday, January 15, 2011


I would like to add another several hours to my day...and I'd like to be my most energetic and productive self during those hours.  Or, I'd like to sleep during those hours so I could be my most energetic and productive self the other 24 hours.

I catch a glimpse of how fast time is flying, and I want to just make everything (and everyone) stand still.

I have a week where I say "it takes a village" on several occasions.  I lose a kid in church, or I find a kid in church, or I read an awesome email exchange between my first grader and my friend (who's taken time out of her busy day to invest in my child).  I'm grateful to have an awesome, wide, eclectic circle of people around me who love my kids and positively impact our family. 

I do stuff that makes me think I'm turning into my mother, or maybe I've been my mother all along and just never realized it.

I can't believe how different each of our kids are.  

I can't believe how similar each of our kids are.

I need to remind myself that all kids do weird things once in a while which can't be explained.  There's no need to make it into a "thing", and it doesn't mean they have bad parents.

I feel like I should thank my parents for being good parents.

I need to get away for a minute to remember and appreciate how much I love being here.

Choosing to love,

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


When I was in elementary school, my 3rd grade teacher would say "it's a ketchup day"...well, at least that's what I heard.  It's been awhile since I updated this here blog, and it's time for a ketchup post!

Ketchup.  Catsup.  Catch-Up. 

Christmas "break" was just that.  A nice break.  We were not as productive as I had hoped and dreamed we'd be with our time off, but I realized how much we needed to chill and go with the flow for a few days.  Relax.  Slow down.  Enjoy these moments. 

Thanks to some gift cards, we took all five kids to see Tangled and didn't spend a penny.  It was a riot!  Neither girl will ever cut her hair again, and Ryleigh has suddenly taken up painting ;)  The boys sat very nicely, Rowen was assisted by the low-grade fever he'd been running for several days at that point.  Poor little chicken.  He's going to an ENT tomorrow to schedule tubes, just for the record.  Our family doctor finally gave Mitch the eye roll and acted mildly annoyed when he showed up in her office for the fifth time in less than two months with yet another set of ear infections.  OK, we get it smart doctor, you were right a month ago, he definitely needs tubes.

We went as a family to the Children's Museum, which was a real treat.  Mitch hardly ever gets to go, and the kids and I could probably go every day of the week and not get bored. 

Our small group met for a little shin-dig on New Year's Eve.  It was nice, and I was glad to have somewhere fun to take the kids since DJ Steele was working.  So many little kids, and plenty of room to run around and be crazy.  We got home just in time to hang out for a few minutes and watch the clock hit midnight in the big bed all bundled up together.

 Future Dodgeball champions!

I've never been a New Year's resolution type, but at some point during that week of no routine I found myself looking forward to January 1st as if I needed it to kick start a more productive, purposeful me.  It's only the 10th, so I feel like the fact that I'm still working on this is probably completely fine.  Who's keeping track anyway?  (Me.  And, I say it's fine.) 

Does everyone know The Stringbeans?  I am 30 years old, and I think they're awesome.  They are talented and creative, and their songs are not only entertaining but incredibly informative.  In fact, we are going to be using a few of their songs to inspire our daycare/school activities for the  next month, or who knows...maybe two months!  The next few weeks we're learning about things that came from Right Here in Nebraska, starting with Kool-Aid.  We made Kool-Aid tie dye and dyed these tea towels which we will make into aprons.

Yes, as a matter of that that IS electrical tape.  I ran out of hair-ties, which I was using because I didn't have any rubber bands.  Everyone knows the TIE an essential part of tie-dye.  The TIE part requires the rubber bands, which I didn't think about. :)

It was pretty fun, and the fact that it made our house smell like vinegar for several days was seriously no big deal.

Well, maybe it would have been a big deal, had we been here to smell it.  But, we were not here.  We were partying like Rockstars.  Or, like really old parents of five who are too tired to party that hard.  Whichever.  My handsome husband surprised me with a trip to celebrate my 30th birthday.  He had been planning it since August, and invited a bunch of our friends.  It was a great time, and I felt so loved :)

This was actually a really cool little pizza place, we just hit them up on a weird night I guess :)

Pretty sure not a meal went by that I didn't order a really fun drink.  I loved it, and I decided I'm going to do it more often.  Why not?  Life is short.  New Year's Resolutionish item: do more things I love, just  because I love them.  Even if they are not particularly productive or purposeful, other than for the purpose of keeping myself sane. 


The cigars from the otherwise entirely girly gift baskets I made for the hotel rooms.  I hope they were half-way decent! Either way, you guys look extremely cool and definitely NOT old.
It's all fun and relaxing, until about an hour out of Lincoln.  Suddenly the fact that we haven't been home cleaning up from the previous week, and preparing for the upcoming week hits me.  I start scribbling lists frantically...groceries, laundry, school prep, meals!!!!  Of course the kids will be in foul moods, and won't want to go home after being spoiled at Grandma's for 48 hours.  Sure enough, by the time we decided to drag the kids out and go home, at least three of them were crying.  I'm certain the fourth was pouting.  Praise the Lord, after 15 minutes in the van to come to grips with reality, some warmed up leftovers for dinner, and some venting texts to my sister, everyone turned around.  We had a nice quiet night, did baths, put away groceries, started laundry, and got ready for the dreaded Monday After Vacation.

Only, Monday After Vacation turned into SNOW DAY After Vacation.  Heaven.  Who has said they totally need a vacation after being on vacation!?  Obviously this was no week-long camping trip to recover from, but it was still sweeeeeeeet.  The weather was awesome-not too cold, no wind, and deep, fluffy white powder to play in.  I was so pumped, I even fired up the snow-blower!  Rowen lasted over two hours outside, and the other kids were out for 3 before I finally made them come in for lunch.  It was so fun! 

 There are a few things wrong here.  First of all, everyone knows rear-wheel Mustangs don't work in the snow.  Second, any gentleman would let the lady drive while he pushed! :)  Third, Rugger has ditched his gloves again!  Don't kids feel the cold??

 The kids were so excited to build forts.  They have big plans of a neighborhood snowball fight suddenly breaking out and being totally prepared for it!!  

I just heard there's no school tomorrow again, which doesn't affect us except that I'll have fewer daycare kids.  The weather has turned bitter cold, so I'm planning on a laid-back baking day, which is super fun!  Come Wednesday I will be good and ready to get back to my New Year Me with the more purpose-filled days routine.  I'm sure :)

Choosing to love,