Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Six-List: Six Beautiful Things About Me

No, I didn't write this myself.  This is a guest-post from our daughter, S.


My mom told me that she was writing a blog post about six weird things about herself.  I suggested she write about the beautiful things about her.  She told me then it's considered bragging and not as fun.  It's not bragging if I wrote six things about her that I consider beautiful things about her ... and I'm sure you'll agree, too!

Six-List: Six Weird Things About Me

I read somewhere that people like to read lists on blogs.  So I picked my favorite number (6, yes, I'm still a Christian) and decided that from time to time, I'll provide some Six-Lists for you.  Today, I'm listing six unique (aka weird) things about me for your reading enjoyment -- or for you to ignore completely -- whatever floats your boat.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Sunday in Santa Fe

Okay, so yesterday while C was occupied at home smoking up some pork ribs (the best he's made yet, I will add), I decided to take a limited number of children up to Santa Fe to visit the New Mexico History Museum.

Some Goals

I recently sought out some talk therapy for myself at the recommendation of my doctor and several other people who can vouch for my particular flavor of crazy.  I haven't gone off the deep end or anything ... this is all just preventative, brain sorting kinds of stuff.  Getting myself out of these feelings of being overwhelmed, I guess.  Or whatever.

Today, my therapist and I discussed setting some goals for me.  Okay, first, I feel so stylish saying, "my therapist."  Secondly, who knew a person needed goals for their mental health as well as for the rest of their lives?!  I didn't.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

One Lesson at a Time

Our son, H, is twelve.  We feel like lately he has been on the cliff's edge of a major leap forward in maturity.  It's very exciting to see because we have been steeped in little boy behaviors (and still are, with our younger two boys) for so long.  Sometimes it feels like we can't go another day!  But H's recent heart-changes have given us hope for some better times to come with our sons.

This morning, though, some of H's old ways (old meaning like 2-3 weeks ago) were coming through.  He was getting easily frustrated with his siblings and he was arguing with me about -- well, everything.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Desiah Concert

Our church hosted the group Desiah out of Southern California for a concert this evening that we attended.  I wanted to post a few pictures here and spread the word about this group in case you haven't heard about them or to let you know that if they are coming to a venue near you (they're on tour right now), you might want to check them out.

Desiah is a group of teenagers from a performing arts school in Hollywood set up to help teens pursue their dreams of acting and singing, etc. (performing arts), in a more positive environment.  The concert tonight was a benefit concert to raise money for Friends Feeding Friends.

Weekend Journal: Prompt 4

I've written recently a lot about what's swirling in my head and feeling overwhelmed by it.  On the side, I've had several people reminding me that I don't need to take all of that stuff on.  It's true, I don't. 

I do enjoy doing a lot of things because it makes life more interesting.  However, I agree, that in order to help keep things in perspective, it's important to say NO sometimes when opportunities come up.

So this concept of saying NO and not overloading my plate with too much excess stuff to take on is what inspired this week's Weekend Journal Prompt.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Courageous Women: Aunt K

I realized after making this post that it's my 300th post!  Yay!  So I came back and made this note at the top of the post just so you can all help me celebrate that, in addition to...

It's my Aunt K's birthday today and since I'm too cheap and disorganized to get a gift out to her -- or even a card (sad) -- I thought I'd at least pay tribute to this wonderful lady, aunt, sister, mom and grandmother here at my blog.  I'm not sure if she ever gets over here to read my blog, but maybe my mom will give her a head's up about this post.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

New Pants

If you know our son, Z, or if you're getting to know him through my stories here at Mama Flock, you know he loves all things stuffed animals.

I just saw this news story and the picture is just hilarious.  I soooo need to figure out a way to make Z some pants like this for his next birthday or Christmas or something.  He would just be in complete love -- being able to take all these friends with him every where he goes.

Summer is...

... trips to the Aquarium with the kids!

Yesterday, I took eight kids (H opted out, S is not pictured above) for a picnic lunch at the Botanic Gardens and then we headed over to the Aquarium (where it was cooler!) in Albuquerque.  I love living where we have access to this kind of cool stuff.  We had a fun time. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

On Chores...Part Three

Part Three: Allowance

There are several schools of thought about giving kids an allowance.  I don't know that we've picked one yet and really, really stuck with it, or if what we've tried is the right choice for us or anyone else.  But I'll share with you what we're doing recently and how it's going.

On Chores...Part Two

Part Two: Chore Charts

I think at some point, every parent attempts to create a chore chart for their child(ren).  It seems like such an organized way to go about assigning tasks and keeping track of what got done each day.  There are probably many websites (in fact, I know there are, because I've searched for them) with printable chore charts to use if that is your desire.  Some people find success with this method, but we have not.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

How Great Thou Art

I was raised attending Lutheran church services primarily (and Sunday School and youth group, etc.).  If you're not familiar with that part of the Christian church, it's a little like going to a Catholic church without all the focus on saints and Mary, mother of Jesus.  So ours was pretty formal and our church services were very old school -- hymnal usage, group readings, formulaic and predictable.  It gave me a fine foundation, but compared with the churches I've belonged to as an adult, Lutheran churches couldn't compete for my dedication and spiritual growth.

That being said, even though my adult life has led me to churches whose services are more contemporary and lively, there is still a part of me that will always feel comforted by classic hymns.  Fortunately, our contemporary church here in New Mexico does, occasionally, dabble in classic hymns at the end of a run of contemporary worship songs.  I like it.  It reaches the places inside me that remind me of childlike faith, the comfort of my mother's singing (all the time) while I was growing up and extends through the generations, bringing something old into the new and introducing our children to something of my past.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Post-Post-Sale, For Real

I've been up for too many hours at this point, so I can't believe I'm sitting down to do another blog post.  But here I am.  I couldn't wait to tell you...

Our evening sale went well.  Some people came because of the neighborhood signs and others came because of our post on Craigslist.  We didn't have too many, but apparently evening shoppers -- perhaps the cooler temperatures make for better shopping -- buy more.  So it didn't take too many of them.

Weekend Journal: Prompt 3

Okay, so for those of you following along with this Weekend Journal project -- me, so far -- here's this weekend's prompt.

I've already shared with you my favorite breakfast of sardines and rice, in another post, and today, my sister sat watching me eating one of my favorite snacks -- in disgust -- and commented about how weird I am in what I eat.  So she inspired my prompt today!

Post-Sale ... or is it?!

The sale was scheduled for today from 8-1.  My alarm was set for 5:00, but of course, I woke at 4:00.  And I couldn't go back to sleep, knowing I only had an hour till the alarm was going to go off.  So I got up.  I showered.  I was downstairs and outside working in the front yard by 4:30.  What is this kind of crazy?

My kind.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Yard Sale Eve

Today, H, L, K and I spent several hours cleaning our garage and rummaging through its contents finding more stuff to sell.  There is a lot out there that only C can decipher and decide upon, so he'll be doing that throughout the course of the sale, providing fresh inventory all morning long.  The garage wasn't even on my head-swirling list, but it is surprisingly relieving to have it all cleaned (especially knowing people will be getting an up close look at it tomorrow).

S watched the younger kids again and Z, he pretty much drove everybody crazy.  But I'm sure the house being turned on end and emptied of its contents little by little is very unnerving for him.  So we do what we can to get through it and Sunday, things will be back to normalsville.

On Chores...Part One

After posting about my overwhelming feelings about the list I keep running in my head, I received an encouraging email from my mother-in-law about several things, one of which was making sure the kids are doing chores and helping out so I don't go crazy!

Number one, it's too late.  I already am crazy.  Ha.  But seriously, sanity is waaaay overrated.  At least, it seems that way.  I wouldn't really know.

Number two, I felt inspired by her email to blog a little about our philosophy (for now) on the whole chore subject, what we've done in the past, what's worked, what hasn't and what we are doing now.

In the advice of my blogging sister, I think I'd better split this up into a few posts so that it doesn't get so long nobody wants to read it.  I know I'm long-winded, but it's just the way my brain and my typing fingers work.  All at once!  But I'm going to TRY chopping this into more manageable bits.  Bear with me...

I Pray

If you haven't been bombarded enough by all the news on television, text-messaging services, online news sources or tweets, there was a mass-shooting in Aurora, Colorado, last night.

Thankfully, they have the suspect in custody.  Unfortunately, several people were killed and many more were injured.

I pray for the families of the victims and for the recovery of those who were injured.  I pray that justice is served swiftly in the case of the suspect.  I pray that he repents of his sin and knows Jesus Christ before his own demise.  I pray for the hundreds of law enforcement officials involved in this case, that they may be wise and fair in their evidence gathering and processing.  I pray for the people of Aurora, that they may continue living lives without fear.

In reading a couple articles about the situation this morning, I saw the suspect's mother was quoted in reaction to the news of her son's arrest, as saying, "You have the right person...I need to call the police..."

I also pray that there never comes a day when I have to be that mom.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

On a Roll

Apparently, I needed a good frustrating day to motivate me to get stuff done!  Because since my minor meltdown about all the projects I had looming, I've been really getting stuff done.

Today, with all the kids' help, I got the whole loft playroom cleaned up, sorted and agreed upon toys put aside for the yard sale Saturday.  The kids were actually more willing than I thought to give up their stuff. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Hand Signals

After pulling into a parking lot earlier today and coming to a complete stop well behind someone who chose that moment to back out of a space in a haphazard way -- lurching back only to slam on his Camaro's brakes so he didn't back into my truck -- and then putting up a hand signal to tell me that I'm #1 (though, some might call it 'the bird'), I took some time to reflect on that moment later in the day.

Summer is...

...a midweek, spur-of-the-moment, the weather's perfect so let's have a backyard campfire after dinner with the kids (like the one we had last night after the sun went down)!  Nothing specific to celebrate except family togetherness.

Good News

Today, S and I cleaned out the fridge and freezer -- scrubbed every shelf and drawer, checked every expiration date and tossed things accordingly, and cleaned jars that had gotten a bit sticky or whatever.  It felt good to cross another thing off my list from yesterday -- the one that swirls in my head nonstop. 

Joy found today in our clean fridge and a job complete!  Next stop ... the grocery store.  You can see we're out of a lot of basics here!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


I have a problem.  I love to say yes to every opportunity that comes before me because somewhere along the way, I started believing that the only opportunities I'll regret are the ones I didn't take.  Also, I fully believe that God will provide me with the necessary energy and resources to accomplish anything I do in an effort to honor Him. 

My problem comes when every once in a while, I realize I've said too many yes's and then I'm struggling to figure out which yes's are a bigger priority.  I also lose sight of which things are about honoring Him and which things are just about feeling in control of my environment.  There's a fine line sometimes.

On top of not being able to prioritize projects well, I'm a stickler for follow-through.  It drives me bonkers when people make promises to me and then don't follow-through, so I try to follow through most all of the time.  I'm harder on myself than I am on others.  There will always be unforeseeable exceptions to the rule and I do extend grace where I can when people don't follow through on something with me.  But I'm not really great at extending grace to myself.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Funny Niece

My niece, N, is so funny.  Maybe it's the age (5) or her role in our family -- I don't know, but she says a million funny things a day and I can't keep track of them all.

But today, I am writing three of them down for you all...

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Good Morning

Now that it's like 2:00 in the afternoon, I am finally getting a chance to post and I can think of nothing better than posting about one of my newest song-loves: Good Morning, by Mandisa.

I've always been more of a morning person (till the kids came ... but someday, I will be one again, rest assured).  Anyway, Mandisa is apparently not a morning person, so she wrote this song to help herself get going each day and to help her think positive in those early morning hours.  TobyMac joins her in this song, as well.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Lavender Festival

After C fixed the pipe in our sprinkler system (successfully on the first try!), we headed over to the Lavender Festival, like I'd hoped.  It was a good time -- but H.O.T. -- and middle of the day, so my photo ops weren't so great.  But I'll share a few with you here anyway.  C ended up sunburned, but the rest of us seemed okay.  Good times.

C loves when I take pictures of him doing complicated jobs that require a lot of concentration.  He loves even more if while I'm taking pictures of him, I start talking and laughing about a new blog I found that has nothing to do with him.  Loves it.

Fancy sign.

And If You're Not Too Busy Journaling...

... go check out this other Mom blog that I found while trying to remember the name of a stinky flower.  I have been reading this for at least ten minutes and I'm dying here with laughter.  I love this lady and her attitude about motherhood.  So I'm giving her a free link on my blog here -- not that she needs it -- but in case you've never read her blog and you happen by my little blog, you should go there.  She's funnier than me. 

Weekend Journal: Prompt 2

So far, I think I may be the only one doing this weekend journaling project, but that's okay. It's good for me to keep creative thought flowing! But feel free to jump in any time.

Locally, this weekend, is the Annual Lavender Festival. I really want to go to it. The odd thing is that I am not a fan of the scent: lavender. But the festival sounds fun and family oriented and maybe even educational in some ways. Plus, what else do I have to do today (beside everything)? Maybe I'll even get some fun pictures from it.

Anyway, the thought of lavender made me think about flowers and scents and so that inspired my Weekend Journal prompt.

Friday, July 13, 2012


I think I may be influencing my kids in their storytelling.  I mean, the way I beat around the bush in an effort to build a fuller story.  Then I go on and on and it takes me forever to get to the point.

You know what I mean ... you read my blog.

It drives C nuts -- especially when I am telling a story about something bad that happened but has since worked out for good.  He wants me to start at the punchline and then back fill.

I like to build suspense, like he's reading a book or watching a movie in the way I tell it.  But of course, I know the ending before I start telling the story. And this isn't a book or a movie ... it's our real life.  He can't listen to the details if I've started the story with, "Something really bad happened today..." and then I start from the beginning of the day and I meticulously explain the four hours leading up to when one of the kids stepped on a piece of glass or whatever.

I'm learning to say, "Everything was alright in the end, but here's something scary that happened earlier in the day..." and then launch into my story.  He's naturally a problem-solver, so he wants to know if this is just something to hear about my day or if he needs to jump into action RIGHT NOW.

Anyway, C came home from work today and Z rushed to tell him the news of this morning.  Here's how the conversation went ...

Z said, "Guess what, Daddy!"

A Second Visit

Our Pomeranian friend was back in our house again!  I missed it again.

This morning, I'd left the back door open for Nova, while I used some spare moments this morning to do some research for the curriculum.  Then, about 20 minutes ago, I went upstairs to my bedroom for two minutes when there was a pounding on my bedroom door.

It was Z.  He was freaking out because, you guessed it, there was a Pomeranian in the house!  He'd come all the way through our gate, through our sliding door (left cracked open) and almost to the kitchen.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Movie Review: Chimpanzee

I took the kids to see Disneynature's Chimpanzee today.  It was playing at the cheap theater, so it was a good opportunity.

I like Disney's nature movies so far (the recent ones, I mean).  We own Oceans, on DVD, and have watched it repeatedly.  I like that they don't cross the evolution vs. creation bridge.  They sort of leave that argument alone.  They don't support either one.  Let the families decide which to believe, I suppose, is what they're going for there.

Please note:  There may be minimal spoilers if you continue reading.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Summer is...

...an impromptu sprinkler session at the park!

2012 Getting to Know You ... er, Me

My niece, L, sent me this year's questionnaire and so I'm posting my responses here to share with whomever wants to read them -- instead of spamming you all... please let me know if you post your answers anywhere.

1.What color are your socks right now?
Black with little white and purple pinstripes in a diagonal, cross-hatchy kind of pattern (though I would have worn different socks today if I knew I was going to have to describe them).

Good Start

Here's how my day began...

Monday, July 9, 2012

In the Pursuit of Caterpillars

So, my sister, Jessica, sent all her nephieces a butterfly kit last year like one she'd done and blogged about.  She thought it would be a fun and educational project for all of them to do together.  But life is ... life, and time got away from me last year and I never ordered the caterpillars.

Finding myself with a little more time this summer for some odd reason, I went to order the caterpillars with my coupon and they turned me down saying that it's too hot for them to deliver them to this region.  I even tried setting a date in the future in every single month (it snows here in the wintertime!) and it always gave the same response.

Sunday, July 8, 2012


I took a trip to the Botanic Garden yesterday with only two(!) kids: S and Z.  I had been wanting to visit the butterfly enclosure while it's open (only in the summertime), so we went.  It poured rain for most of our time while we were in the garden, but I think the lighting made it perfect for taking pictures.  I got the chance (and time!) to practice with some of my manual settings again.  It's not perfect, but I liked my results.

So for once, I'll keep my text to a minimum here and just let the photos speak for themselves.  Just a disclaimer for those who don't appreciate insects (even the pretty ones), you may not want to look at these photos because that's all there is here today.  Enjoy.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Weekend Journal: Prompt 1

I decided that I'd start giving some weekend journal prompts (since I can't commit to every day, nor would most of you want me to).  I can't say I'll be able to do every weekend, nor can I say how long I can keep this up.  However, for now, if you want to play along, use these prompts in your own journaling to spark your creativity.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Courageous Women: Oma

Today is my mother-in-law's birthday.  Happy Birthday!  I thought it was a good opportunity to not only wish her a happy day, but to write about her courage in another post in my Courageous Women series.

To my kids, she's Oma -- German for grandma -- because back when they were still foster children, they were still in touch with their biological grandmother and since we weren't sure what their future with us would look like, we wanted to create a different name for them to call her, so as not to confuse them.  Confused?  Hopefully not.  We tried out a couple names, but everyone settled on Oma (and for C's dad, Opa).  And, it stuck.

Table Manners

No matter how many meals we have eaten together as a family, my children's table manners never cease to amaze me.  Or lack of manners is more like it.

Truthfully, we have been caught being good a few times and people have come up to us in restaurants to say how well behaved our children are.  It does happen.  Those moments are sheer bliss, though completely shocking to me.  But I do appreciate the feedback.  It helps me relax a bit and realize that they are learning some decency.

Another Day at the Beach

We're getting more and more into our rainy season here in the high desert of New Mexico, so pretty much every day we're seeing afternoon showers and thunderstorms.  It actually feels a bit early this year, but be that as it may ... it's here.

In fact, here's a glimpse at the weather.com forecast for the next five days if you don't believe me:

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Our Fourth

We had fun plans set for this Fourth of July that were slightly reminiscent of our celebration last July.  It was such a good time last year that we wanted to repeat it all.  It went something like this...

  • Leisurely wake up and straighten up the house for the day (of course C would have been up and down all night slow-cooking something delicious because that's how he does holiday meals).
  • Everyone get into their holiday shirts and pose for the family picture before they get dirty.
  • Head to the pool we found out has free admission every July 4th.
  • After some time at the pool, come home, snack, relax, finish getting dinner stuff ready.
  • Bring food down to the soccer fields where we set up for a potluck dinner with friends from church (this was all pulled off on the fly last year with no advance preparation) and stick around to watch the city's firework display.
  • Go home late, leave the dishes for morning and crash into our pillows.

I don't know about you, but that sounds like a lot of fun to me.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Crafty 4th

I'm not sure if I'll get around to posting tomorrow or not, so I thought I'd make my Fourth of July post tonight, on the third, so I don't forget to wish you all a:

Happy Independence Day!!

We did it!  We got around to making shirts for the kids for tomorrow.  I won't show all of them to you because I didn't take pictures of all of them and I'm too lazy to go around to the various flat surfaces where they are drying now to photograph them.   I hope to get some other pictures of the shirts being worn tomorrow.  But here are some highlights for you:

And Again God Provides...

I find it amazing what God can do when I just move out of His way and stop worrying so much, you know?

Monday, July 2, 2012


I took both S and J to the doctor today.  They'd both had pretty bad congestion for a few days, fevers since yesterday and today, S was so dizzy, I had to get a wheelchair in the lobby just to walk her back to the waiting area -- and before that, we'd barely made it from the house to the car.