Friday, June 30, 2006

It can be fixed...RIGHT???

A 180' in the Suburban = Beth's mangled bike

Poor Beth. Her mommy DOES love her! I am going to look for the slime for the old bike with a flat tire...just until daddy comes home and FIXES this one. He can fix ANYTHING!!

Some Crap + Some Good Stuff = LIFE

Today has been an incredibly challenging day. I decided to list all the crappy things that have gone on today...but even though the day had a lot of crap in it I am bound and determined to offset the crap with the good things that happened. So here it goes:

  • CRAP - E woke us up at the crack of dawn (ok, so it was like 8 am but we were finally sleeping!!)
  • GOOD - We all got to talk with Daddy and then he sent us pictures of all the yucky things he's eating.

  • CRAP - Someone left the door open to the Suburban and it was dead.
  • GOOD - Jody came by to leave the car top carrier and was able to help me push the Suburban out of the garage (without running over ANY of the 8 kids or 2 cats, 5 kittens or dog) and get it jumped.

  • CRAP - I opened the box to my new elliptical and realized it might be a job for man after all. There's like 5,000 parts and I'm pretty sure a man wrote the be interpreted by another man.
  • GOOD - At least I got the 241 lb. box to my room down the steps and to the end of the hall all by myself.

  • CRAP - I went to open the garage door to the bay where the mower sits and a screw fell out at me...and the door wouldn't open. I was even using the emergency pull for the electric opener.
  • GOOD - I didn't have to mow today because I couldn't get the mower out of the garage. (Sorry E, I am messing up your strict mowing schedule and probably creating a lot of havic with lawn clippings)

  • CRAP - Lucy had a high fever today and had to go in to the doctor and leave a urine sample.
  • GOOD - Lucy has been fairly lethargic and cuddly all day and hasn't gotten into too much mischief. Jody was nice enough to drop off some medicines and 7 up to get us through the night.

  • CRAP - I missed our book club night out due to Lethargic Lucy.
  • GOOD - Even though this one just plain sucks for me I am very glad they still went. Those girls deserved a night out!

  • CRAP - I was desperate to get out of the house so I loaded everyone up and took them to McDonald's drive-thru (we had 3 free kids meal coupons that expired TODAY!). As I backed out around the Camry to position myself to drive forward out the long windy driveway I mangled Beth's bike. Of course, my first thought was "how many times have I told you to put your bike away when you're done! Especially not to leave it behind the Suburban." The tears coming from the third seat created a nice river of guilt in my heart.
  • GOOD - I was reminded that I'm very selfish and that this life is not about me. How will these little people figure this out for themselves if they don't first see it coming from their mommy.

It's always best to end on a positive note (even if I'm not feeling too positive; more mentally exhausted and a little stressed...maybe I need to THINK positively). The best part about today was a very nice card coming from a friend back home in Kansas that I haven't heard from in a while (she belongs to my favorite little "magazine" family...they should all be published they're so beautiful...and it's not just on the outside!). It was very encouraging just in the moment that I needed it most. I was actually sitting at the computer gutted with pitiful tears when one of the kids handed me the mail that had just been delivered. I would bet too that when she mailed it she didn't even realize the impact it would have but she was listening to that little voice from God telling her to do it. So, I am most thankful today for good friends both far and near. For my "community". (or cult as Eric might call it when it comes to blogging...)

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Pictures from the week

Saying goodbye

Alex made a cake

We DID just watch Karate Kid and Karate Kid II


My New Boyfriend

My new boyfriend came today (Eric will be so glad). He weighs 241 lbs. so my next job will be to get him out of my foyer and into my bedroom.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

I'm feeling very, very sleepy...

Finally I sacked out this morning around 4:30 am. Lucy was up at the crack of dawn. I'm feeling very, very sleepy. I can't think of anything important to blog and my head is foggy from sleep deprivation so I'm off to tuck the little people away in their beds and head to bed myself.

Still Can't Sleep

Buller cousins

Decker cousins

I just love these pictures!

Can't Sleep

Thinking of you....
...I'm also a LITTLE bored and can't sleep...

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

In Progress

"When you're on a really long voyage, you have to get beyond asking, "Are we there yet?" and instead start asking, "Are we making progress?" - Brian McLaren, A New Kind of Christian

"God is not merely concerned with results, but also with character - and few things produce character like learning how to wait." Gary Thomas, Authentic Faith

Hoping we make progress in building character during this month.

Lean on Me

Last night I put the kids to bed at 6:30 pm. Beth and Lucy didn't actually nod off until after 8 pm but it was quiet in the house. Jake and Alex read in their beds until 9 pm. Evenings are when I miss E the most. I think I spent 2 hours last night looking at blogs of people I didn't know. I wanted to read but couldn't focus. I planned out the meals for the coming weeks and the grocery lists to match. I planned out my exercise schedule but didn't exercise. Finally around 9 pm I decided to watch a movie so I let Jake and Alex cuddle up with me in my bed and watch a DVD on the portable player. We all sat in a really small little area so we could see and it was comforting. We talked about the movie throughout and then afterwards we sat and talked for about an hour. We fell asleep talking. I hope I can look beyond the frustrating things about parenting in the next few weeks and capture these times that build our relationships and help us lean on each other.

E arrived safely in Hong Kong and heads across the border into China after he sleeps.

Monday, June 26, 2006

The Packing List

Ok, anal E made up a nice spreadsheet of all he needed to take along with him on his trip. Although he is very detail oriented he is still a man. The clothing items for a month included:

  • 4 pair of underwear
  • 2 T-shirts
  • 2 pair shorts
  • 2 pair dockers
  • 3 - 4 button up shirts
  • 4 pair socks

Thankfully, he took more socks and underwear than regular clothes. I realize he has laundry service but I'm glad I'm not a man and have to wear the same pants and button up shirts every other or every third day. He took more office related things than clothing items. He also only packed one small suitcase to carry-on (none for check-in) and his laptop bag. Amazing. I think I'd pack 3 suitcases.

He is now safely landed on a layover in Minneapolis. He called huffing and puffing to his next gate at the opposite end of the airport. I'm going to go take a nap now as he woke me at 2 am this morning frantically searching for his passport. A couple hours of searching, a ton of praying, a few Oh s**t thoughts, and some clear-headed retracing of his steps found the passport nicely stashed in one of his jackets. Thank God. Would have really put a wrench in the whole day.

Saturday, June 24, 2006


I didn't capture the whole day in pictures but I did manage to get some during our smore outing. I completed my final mowing session so next Saturday I'm on my own. There's still one spot I have to hold my breath and close my eyes (not a good idea though) going up the hill. There's only a few skid marks in the yard and only a few spots where the tires made a hole. I'm actually glad E won't be around to moniter my mowing procedures. One round and I got chewed out for "doing it wrong". A nice fight brewed but I was able to get back into his box of "how to" and complete the project with a C+ mainly for effort. The swimming turned into running in the sprinklers so we could accomplish other projects in the meanwhile. The dog fence is about 2/3 in but we began training Moby. He caught on so fast we left him unattended and guess who drove around the neighborhood looking for him...

Today we clean. My favorite Day.

Friday, June 23, 2006


I've decided that today is going to be a fun day. Even if no one else in this house is having fun I am going to MAKE them have a good day no matter what!! I have my last mowing lesson (which I'm sure they'll all enjoy standing on the sidelines and watching), we get to weed the garden (this = snakes and cool bugs), finish the dog fence (this may not be so fun but HAS to happen), go swimming, have a family barbecue, and smores in the chiminea. Jake is a happy camper after a trip to the library to replenish his book supply. Lucy's 36 hour grounding from kittens has been lifted (she received the punishment for giving a kitten a swirly in a toilet full of pee) so she's back to kitty patrol. Alex and Beth have decided to be friends this summer and have been exercising their creative cooking skills and made eggs for breakfast (I'm ignoring the smoke coming from the kitchen). Life is good. Ah, I have to go break up a fight and remind these little people that we're having FUN today...

Thursday, June 22, 2006


Today has been a hard day. There has been an underlying tension in our midst all day. I have no doubt that Satan is working overtime here. We've dismissed any thoughts of getting away camping with the kids this weekend. I am so overwhelmed and found out a few hours ago that guests we planned for the end of July are actually coming this weekend. I'm feeling guilty that the kids won't have the dedicated time we planned for them and the stress is eating me up. But, as I sat here in tears with what feels like an ulcer chewing on the lining of my stomach making me want to throw up, Eric made a very compassionate gesture. He looked up the passage discussed at his Thursday morning bible study last week and also read at the funeral on Monday. He read it to me and very subtly my tears began to dry and my heart began to beat normally again. I was reassured that I'm not alone and that this season of life will pass and I will still be alright.

"Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God's Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don't know how or what to pray, it doesn't matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant (I'm not pregnant, just so you know)condition, and keeps us present before God. That's why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good...

...Do you think anyone is able to drive a wedge between us and Christ's love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst of sins listed in Scripture...None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I'm absolutely convinced that nothing-nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable-absolutely nothing can get between us and God's love because of the way that Jesus our master has embraced us."

Romans 8:26-28 and some stuff from the 30's (The Message) (ok, i'm really tired and mentally losing it so if you want the whole concept being given by the pregnant analogy go to your bible and read from verse's all good...just too tired to type it and you get my point.)


It's crunch time. Laundry has to be completed, medications purchased ahead of time, my honey-do list has to be finished. E leaves in a few short days. He took today and tomorrow off to be with me and the kids because he has final papers to write this weekend. Only problem: he's at work. Trying to keep my tears back and my head up. Trying to stay positive...even if it's only for the kids!!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Mud Bath

No words necessary to express how dirty they were...

Monday, June 19, 2006

Happy Father's Day Dad...a day late

Well, everything I do seems to always be a little late so I'm sure my dad expects his cards in the mail in a week or two. I'm too tired to put into words the kindness of my father so here are a few pictures that illustrate my dad as I remember him growing up.

Taking time to explain things to me. I was always asking questions...still am.

Always had a shoulder for me.

Happy Father's Day Dad!

Wheat Harvest

These are my kiddos at wheat harvest just weeks before moving to Iowa.

This is my brother and two of his crew this year during wheat harvest. My dad is on the combine in the background cutting wheat. Thanks for the pictures Lisa!

I hadn't missed a wheat harvest in my whole life until we moved to Iowa. Haven't made it back for one ever since. Here's a few pictures that remind me of my dad and his farm tonight. I think my family just finished cutting wheat (ok Iowans, it's like harvesting CORN only you come out with wheat berries instead of corn) which makes me a little homesick.

Lucy's Fortune

We ate lunch at China Garden today (yes, E really likes Chinese food...I obliged since it was Father's Day after all). When the waiter brought our fortune cookies to the table everyone scrambled to get one. All were divied out and the kids were quickly cracking them open to read their fortunes. Most of them were pretty lame but Lucy's seem to be right on the money. It read:

  • A great pleasure in life is doing what others say you can't.

Pretty much summed up Lucy in one little fortune cookie.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Still in love after all these years...

We tried to take a good picture of ourselves (without success!)...we wanted to preserve the moment. Didn't want the night to end. I still love this much more than I ever thought possible.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Life Keeps Moving

It seems like everything should stop in the wake of Erika's funeral. But like other hard times in life we have to keep moving. It feels like everything we are doing right now is frivolous. Our hearts are heavy for the Maynard family.

Tonight E and I are going away for one last rendezvous before he leaves for China. Here's how God works. He knows what we need and then he prompts someone to supply it for us. He is a loving and compassionate God. He touches my heart when I am numb and think there's nothing left. Here's part of the email I received from a friend that put me in tears (and still is now) because God reminded me that He knows what I need:

Hey guys,

Get ready for a little get away from life for a night!

Friday, June 16 you will take off from your home (without children) and head to Galesburg, IL.

You will enjoy a meal at the “Packing House” restaurant and then retire in your King size Non smoking room at the Comfort Inn...

...Also, the baby sitting is on us too!

I feel so unworthy of this kind gesture and yet it is exactly what we need. Life really sucks sometimes but deep in the depths of my heart and soul I know that God is taking care of it all and he will supply us with the strength to keep moving each day.

Thursday, June 15, 2006


Yesterday marks one of the worst days I have had in mommy-hood. The kids have been fighting and bickering and talking back and yesterday I was sucked dry on grace and mercy. I put myself in time-out several times and by midnight when I still couldn't get the three biggest kids to sleep I was at the end of my rope and yelled many regretful things. I am guilty for not reacting in love. I am guilty for not being grateful for every second I have with them. This morning I reflect on yesterday with tears, going back to the basic mommy roots to start over and try to be a mommy worthy of these four little people. My heart weeps for friends who lost their beautiful little 4 year old daughter yesterday. It reminds me to make every minute count. It makes me question once again everything around me.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Kitty Report

Here's the weekly kitty report. All five kittens are still alive. I repeat: all five kittens are still alive. Despite the curiosity of Lucille Grace they are still breathing and nursing from their mama. Their names are Vanilla, Mango, Stripes, Calico, and Grayson. Their eyes are still shut, they are still deaf (and meow like they're deaf too!), and they nurse constantly. Glad they weren't MY babies...I couldn't have handled the round-the-clock sucking.

Last night Alex heard a kitten meowing and she went into the laundry room and found Lucy fresh out of the shower, still naked, guilty as can be, hiding something behind her back. She was standing in front of the playpen (their new home) and as Alex questioned her she saw something drop into the playpen from behind Lucy's back. I'm having a hard time keeping these little people from holding these kittens without me around! I'm considering putting a lock on the door to keep Lucy out. She just loves them so much! Remember that song "Love Hurts"? I've come to appreciate a new meaning for that song between Lucy and the kitties.


Could someone PLEASE tell Beth that time-out is not supposed to be FUN!!

The apples don't fall far from the tree...

Don't know why I can't keep the house clean...

found this pile of E's shoes in the middle of the office, not in the closet in the bedroom.

Monday, June 12, 2006


"Those couples who are willing to swim against the current tide of cultural pressures are going to have a reward waiting for them. They may not be able to dress as well, drive as nice a car, go out as much, or have as nice a house as those who ride with the contemporary flow. But they will have the blessing of knowing they gave their kids what their kids needed most - THEIR PARENTS' ATTENTION." Tim Kimmel (Little House on the Freeway)

Trying to refocus today and not get caught up in what we don't have and focus on why we're here...


Something's Missing

"The yearning to attach and connect, to love and be loved, is the fiercest longing of the soul. Our need for community with people and the God who made us is to the human spirit what food and air and water are to the human body. That need will not go away even in the face of all the weirdness." John Ortberg

Sunday, June 11, 2006

The Flu...Round 2

Our weekend started out with the buzz of getting our campsite ready for the relay for life Friday. I spent Friday afternoon baking for our team and setting up. We won best campsite! It was a fun night except that the kids didn't want to sleep. I finally got Lucy to sleep about 2 am (Beth was the only other slumber participant...Jake and Alex never gave in) and around 2:30 am we decided to pack it up and head home before the storms hit. I woke up yesterday well rested but not feeling too well and by 4 pm I was laying by the toilet throwing up. I don't remember much else until this morning around 11 am. I know I threw up into the night and Eric gave me some medicine to make me sleep. So, today we're playing catch up. It's amazing how out of whack our place gets when mommy's down for 24 hours. We moved the kitties to the laundry room so they wouldn't be eaten by the wild animals who frequent the garage and E seems pleased that they aren't in the Chevelle any longer. I'm considering ignoring the messy house and sending everyone to bed early. Tomorrow's a new day. :)

Friday, June 09, 2006

Guess What

And guess where....

I just sent this email to Eric. He saw carpet and thought it was inside...little did he know that Spots had kittens in the front of the Chevelle...Eric's prize possession. Guess God's working on him letting go of some of those earthly treasures. I'm cracking up as I write this. Eric really hates cats. I thought cats had kittens in the safest places, but I guess Spots hasn't gotten to know Eric well enough. And she labored them Buller style (at least E Buller style) to the mountain dew. Finally, a summer activity!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Read My Mind

I laid in bed this morning feeling very yucky and I could hear the trash guy drive by to the end of the circle. I yelled (which ended up being a weak murmur in my sleep) and somehow Alex and Beth read my mind. I heard them running down the driveway with the trash can yelling at them not to drive by. I think they were making up for the toast disaster they made in the kitchen while I was sleeping off the flu...

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


If anyone ever drives by our house and hears someone screaming "HELP!!!" at the top of their lungs...don't worry. Just throw a roll of toilet paper in the window...


Beth and Lucy went to their first T-ball practice last night. Despite my efforts to give them some training ahead of time, they were a hoot to watch. They also seemed to learn better from their coaches than they did from me, Jake and Alex. After Lucy's initial shyness and being glued to Coach Mitchell (holding hands at times) she opened up and let the real Lucy shine. At one point she was laying on her back with her feet up in the air throwing her glove up and catching it while they were doing drills. Beth was doing cartwheels. Then, when it was Lucy's turn to hit the ball she hit it and took off to third base. Beth thoroughly enjoyed seeing a couple of boys from her Kindergarten class and they had a jumping up and down hug at the end. It was a thoroughly entertaining event...I was laughing out loud...sure the people around me thought I was crazy. I think I'll send Eric to the next practice and I'll go to the big kid games. He has to see this to appreciate the humor.

Monday, June 05, 2006


Well, I put off learning to mow yesterday (ok, it's not that I don't know HOW to mow...I mowed plenty of times growing's just this big 52 or 60 inch deck mower that looks scary that I don't know how to use) and took a nap instead. But today, I couldn't put it off any longer. Eric got me started at lunch and thankfully he went back to work and didn't watch. It was enough that he stood at the edge of the driveway before leaving and laughed as I figured out how to balance the two sticks someone stuck on that big piece of metal instead of a steering wheel. I was relieved when he got in his car to leave. So I mowed until I just couldn't sit there doing nothing any longer...

I came inside and emailed Eric this:

ME: Everything that's flat is mowed. :)

ERIC's REPLY: Umm… There isn’t much of our yard that is flat.

I'm starting a club called, "Mom's Against Mowing."


Last night I teared up while watching "The Karate Kid" with my little people. How sad is that? AND, I remember that movie being so cool. I forgot how long ago that movie was made...and how dorky the 80's attire was!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Swim Fest

Not much rockin' here today...just got back from our daily swim. Eric's thinks he's going to teach me how to use the new mower today so I know how to mow when he's gone. I've threatened to just not mow that month. :)

Saturday, June 03, 2006


The day has gone silent. A friend is living moment by moment in New York, hour by hour...waiting for her 4 year old little Erika to improve or not. I'm having trouble blogging the last couple of days. I'm having trouble processing the pain these friends must be enduring. I'm having trouble with every act I do feeling pointless today. For those of you not in Muscatine awaiting the news of little Erika and may not know the scoop...given very little hope for life after 6 months Erika's parents took her to NYC and there an amazing mircale began to unfold. Erika was added to the transplant list and yesterday she underwent a heart transplant. I'm sure I would get the details wrong so if you're interested you can go to and click on visit and then type in erikamaynard. The website is down right now but as of 5:55 pm there were no updates since this morning and thousands are in silence breathing multiple prayers for Erika awaiting the next update. There were struggles after the transplant and it seemed touch and go from their journals. So, tonight, amidst the online silence we cry out tears and fervent prayers for sweet little Erika. Nothing else seems to matter today. The waiting has consumed so many...may God somehow be praised through all those drawn to the story of little Erika.

Friday, June 02, 2006


I'm not sure who told Lucy it was Ok for her to water the flowers and the garden but she decided to go on in after Alex had watered and add her own flare to it. Needless to say a few of my plants look a little trampled and muddy but Lucy feels a sense of accomplishment!


Why is it so hard for little girls to open their hearts to friendship? I have been watching lately as my little girls pour their hearts and souls into their friends...thinking this friend or that friend validates them as a person and realizing that as much as they love their friends, sometimes the love isn't returned equally. I've watched their little hearts break and this is one of the hardest things as a mom. I wish I could take away these lessons they're learning; protect them from the hurt and keep them romanticising about friendship. But, it is a lesson that not any friend, except Jesus, will always be there for them. I've always been one to put up walls and not let friends get too close for fear that when they really know me they won't like me. Maybe I need to start being a better example to them...maybe I need to be more vulnerable in friendships and at the same time allow only Christ to validate me.