Monday, November 30, 2009


During my brief hiatus, we had a lot going on with the boys and cub scouts.

Jackson earned his Wolf.

Carter earned his Religious Knot, Webelos, and ...

The Arrow of Light.

Both boys have been working very hard on their scout stuff and we are very proud of them.

And Taylor, my almost 13-year-old, is finishing his last merit badge required for Eagle. He is just one project away from being an Eagle Scout.

(It helps that Joe is an Eagle Scout, which he earned as a 13- or 14-year-old. You would think after three boys in scouting, I'd know what I'm doing. But I don't. I have a lot to learn before Mason and Sawyer are old enough to join.)

Thoughts From a Marine's Funeral

(watching the funeral procession, taken via my cell phone)

November 16, 2009

Joe and I just returned from the funeral of a young marine killed in Afghanistan.

At the end of the funeral, the Marine’s father went up to the casket and tapped on it. Then he escorted the young widow out.

After the church funeral, we went outside for the military proceedings.

It was completely silent standing outside. The only sound was the giant American flag blowing in the wind. And the very hungry stomach of a person nearby. No one spoke.

I could hear repeated taps. I couldn’t see what it was at first. Then I realized the taps were the feet of the Marines who were carrying the casket. Small, short, quick and precise steps in unison. Each made with exactness.

As the flag was lifted off the casket, Joe pinched the back of my thigh and said, “behind us.” (He was still standing at “attention” so he wasn’t supposed to move or speak.) When I turned around I saw and heard the 21-gun salute. And then the bugle played Taps. Perfectly. All the while the flag was being held in the air by two Marines.

After the song, they proceeded to fold the flag. As they slowly folded the flag that lie on the top of the casket, the marines took turns saluting the folded flag.

I strained my neck to see Marines taking ribbons/medals off their own uniforms to place on top of the casket. They were gathered up and given to the family.

The Marines carried the casket, with their calculated steps, to the hearse. The Patriot Guard led the hearse out of town with a police escort. The sights and sounds of the motorcycles starting up and leaving were incredibly moving.

(the giant flag hoisted by a crane)

I had learned about the life of this marine before and during the funeral. The main theme reminded me of one of my favorite scriptures: "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13) While under heavy gunfire, this marine ordered the other marines to take cover. His life was taken as he spared the lives of others. And it wasn't his first time. He was awarded his third Purple Heart posthumously.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Plaid Scarf

(See. My hair does not look purple.)

I was browsing through some blogs a few weeks back when I stumbled upon a cute, simple scarf. I thought, "Hmm. I'm always cold. It looks easy. I think I shall do this." And that was that. A few days later I slipped into the fabric store for Halloween fabrics and picked up some homespun cotton. And then it sat. I guess you can blame it on my fall because everything sat. And only absolute priorities were taken care of, like Halloween and a little girl's birthday. Everything that was non-essential was put on hold.

Well, now that my knees are not grossly swollen anymore and are only grossly bruised now, I'm trying to get back to my regularly-scheduled life. And so I made it this week.

Complete with the fringed edge.

It does keep a neck warm.

Random Updates:
  • A Marine was killed this weekend in Afghanistan. He was from the outskirts of my town. It's very sad. While I did not know him personally, as a mother and the wife of a soldier, it deeply touches my heart. The funeral will be on Monday, less than two blocks from my house. And one of my widower neighbors is going to be part of the clergy. A little girl at the bus stop told me yesterday that he was her godfather. Sadness, I tell you.
  • I went to an orthopedic specialist on Monday about my knees. (The same one that Spenser saw for her broken leg and finger and who treated Sawyer for his broken collar bone.) He said nothing is broken or torn and to take anti-inflammatory meds for the swelling and pain, which is what I've been taking since the day I fell. He suggested that I do "ankle-strengthening" exercises, like stand on one foot for 30 seconds at a time and then switch. And then to do it with my eyes closed. Since doing these exercises, my ankles have been hurting, like how it hurt before I fell. And there's no way I can do it with my eyes closed. For some reason I get terribly dizzy when I attempt to do it with my eyes closed. I blame it entirely on years of morning sickness.
  • My knees are still sore. I can't bend them all the way back, like if I need to stoop down to put something in a bottom cabinet. I have to sit on the floor and then pray that I can bend my knees enough to get back up. And there is no way I would even think about kneeling on my knees. Not gonna happen.
  • The muscle in my chest still hurts, but the pain is no longer from the center of my chest to my armpit. The area is shrinking. Slowly, but surely. The actual area of pain is about the size of my fist.
  • I haven't run since the day I fell. And it's starting to kill me now.
  • I think there was something else, but I can't remember it now. I remembered! Sawyer went to the ENT this week as part of his follow-up from his surgery. One of his tubes is blocked with "gunk" and it's not the first time. We are treating it with drops, but it might be the end of this tube. We'll have to see if he will need to have a new one put in. The doctor is not sure if Sawyer can last the autumn and winter without it.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Quiche Project

Two years ago our family started Operation Service. Our goal was to serve a nutritious meal to some of our elderly neighbors. We have one widow and two widowers right on our little end of the street. They are so kind to us and our children.

Some weeks are better than others with actually getting the meal out and delivered. It really depends on what I'm serving my family for dinner. If I prepare a roast, I always share. If I prepare a potpie with leftover roast, I only sometimes share. (I have to make sure there is enough to feed my own family first.)

When I decided I wanted chickens, my plan was to make quiche as part of Operation Service. For some reason, older people love this bacon-cheddar quiche, as I have discovered through several family members. So yesterday afternoon, I decided to use some of the dozens of eggs in my fridge, and I set out to make quiches. Two, in fact. One to split amongst the neighbors and one for the children's breakfast.

And while it was still warm from the oven, we delivered quiche to our elderly neighbors. Five of the children walked with me and were very proud to carry and personally deliver the food. (One neighbor wasn't home, so I delivered it on my way to my town meeting last evening.)

Spenser's drawing from church sums up how we feel. I We are happy when we serve others.

(Sadly last night on my way home from the meeting, there was an ambulance in front of Bud's house. He was having chest pains and called 911. He was walking and alert, so we are hopeful and praying for him. We heard he was being transferred to a hospital in Baltimore today.)

And, since I'm talking about eggs, I just had to show you these humongous eggs. I'm sure there's a whole bunch of double-yolkage going on in those eggs.

They are so big, the lid won't even close!

Monday, November 09, 2009

He Said ...

he loved me more than all the rainbows at his house.

At first I didn't know what he meant.

But I think I now do.

I am forever grateful for three-year-old boys.

Thursday, November 05, 2009


This morning's smoothie. Blackberry-banana-peach smoothie with cottage cheese.

Carter's eye after being kicked with soccer cleats during a pregame soccer warm-up. (He was helping Jack's team warm-up and was the goalie.)

Shoes? I thought they would be more red than they are. Oh well. I've never owned purple shoes before.

These are this year's birthday shoes. A little tradition I started a few years ago when I saved up birthday money and bought shoes at a price I would never normally pay. Last year I bought the boots. These fun shoes are from two years ago. Hmmm ... I can't find any record of what I bought in 2007. I'll need to research this.

(The day that I bought those faux-red-mostly-purple shoes they had a sale, so the shoes were $20 off. That's my kind of deal.)

Oh, and my hair was almost purple-pink last week. I decided to color it and in the lighting it appeared to have a purplish tint. Of course I freaked out, but it was just my imagination. Whew!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Halloween 2009

The kids went trick or treating on Saturday night. Taylor went with some friends from school. The other five went with our family friends.

Taylor was something. I'm not quite sure what. He wore that cape and carried a sword. Jackson and his friend, Lorenzo, were soldiers. Carter was a scuba diver. Kallie (family friend) was Scooby-Doo. Mason was a zombie. (He decided to forgo the white and black face paint he wore for our church's trunk or treat last week.) Spenser was a witch. And Sawyer was Peter Pan.

I only made a few of the costumes this year including:

Peter Pan. I took the easy route and used green craft felt. I found a red feather for his cap. He wore a pair of Spenser's brown leggings under the tunic. They were supposed to be green, but we didn't have green.

A witch. A store-bought black shirt with a black felt skirt (cut with a jaggedy hem) and an orange tulle "tutu" overskirt.

She really wanted to be a witch. I tried to talk her out of it.

And Carter the scuba diver. He wore black girls leggings, a hooded sweatshirt, flippers for his feet (cardboard covered in black electrical tape), and his oxygen tanks (two two-liter bottles of soda spray painted black). Carter wants to be a marine biologist, so this costume was perfect for him.

Joe and Kyle took the kids around and Kim and I handed out candy. And laughed. And ate candy. And laughed some more. There are a lot of funny people out on Halloween. And I don't just mean the kids.

Monday, November 02, 2009


A beautiful girl in our house turns five today. And her gift of the day? Fifth disease. How's that for poetic justice? She woke up with the happiest attitude and the rosiest cheeks. One look at her and I knew. This is our first case of this virus. And it happens to the girl on her fifth birthday.

We had a little birthday tea party for her yesterday with her girl cousins. I surely hope that we didn't contaminate anyone before her symptoms appeared this morning. (She never had a fever or any signs of being sick.)

And here is the thrifted china I found back in the spring/summer. I figured she's want another tea party like last year.

I love you, my girl. I hope your cheeks come back to normal color soon. Have the happiest birthday, my little love.