Monday, July 31, 2006

Crazy days of Summer

Our days since E returned have been a crazy blur of events. Between the kids having friends in, swimming, neglecting my household duties (painfully including laundry), church responsibilities, Eric moving his work office over the weekend, E's school work, E starting a new job, getting two kids off to camp, and hosting a mission prayer meeting that my two remaining kids turned into a humorous circus act, it has been non-stop madness this weekend! I am hoping the next few days are a little more laid back with two kids missing...


I came up from my room Saturday morning a little sleepy-eyed and had to take a double look at Lucy who was sitting perfectly normal on a chair at the table, surrounded by cereal boxes she was "reading", happily eating her breakfast...naked. Not just a little naked but buck naked. Eric was sitting on the couch working on his laptop and I gave him a questioning look and he responded, "When I came in the room she said to me, 'Dad, it's ok. Mom said it was. Don't worry.'"

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Book Worms

Today was one of those days where my kids accomplished some stuff that made me so proud that it brought tears to my eyes. I realize this doesn't get them to heaven, doesn't show love to anyone, and maybe doesn't even register on the list of necessities in this lifetime but it built up a world of confidence in the hearts of three young Buller kids who worked hard all summer to read. Our three oldest kids each won the top reader in their age categories today for the summer reading program at the library.

Jake won by reading a total of 21,273 pages at age 9.

Beth won the 6 and under category with 1293 pages.

Alex won by reading a total of 3846 pages.

I'm proud of them no matter what but today was an extra special day for these little people who hold such huge spots in my heart.

Lucy's Self Makeover

Lucy came up from her room yesterday decked out in a really crazy outfit. Her bottom layer is a wet swimsuit, the next is a long-sleeve jacket unzipped with a green and white striped sleeveless polo to top it off. I think the pants are last year's by the looks of the busting seams. Alex asked her if mom did her hair and she said no...she did it. With disbelief Alex grilled me about it and we called Lucy into the room to check out her cool do. She did it herself and it was really awesome!

Final Kitty Report...FAREWELL

On Monday I loaded up the 4 remaining kittens and the momma cat and drove them to a friendly farm outside of town. They joined 13 other cats already in kitten heaven enjoying the good life on the farm. Here are a few pictures from the big event (Ok, so it was sad for them but big for me).

Beth forgot about her own cats once she saw all the others.

Lucy's new "smile" pose...she's been using this one a lot lately!

No excuses

My sister finally emailed me and said that since she figured everyone in my immediate family quit blogging she'd have to resort to email to see how we were doing. :)

It's been a long week of re-adjusting to E coming back into the picture and it hasn't gone quite as smoothly as we would have assumed. So, without boring everyone with the gory details I'll leave it at that and take the next couple of posts to catch up on the good things of the week.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Four Things

E's cousin sent this to me and I seem to have many things to do today but no initiative to get them done so I'm doing this instead!

Four Things About Me

A) Four jobs you have had in your life:
  1. Waitress
  2. Videomax - video clerk
  3. Secretary, accounts receivable, dictation - B&C, lawyer, dentist
  4. Catering

B) 4 movies you would watch over and over:

  1. A Walk to Remember
  2. The Notebook
  3. Return to Me
  4. End of the Spear

C) Four places you have lived besides where you live now

  1. Hesston, KS
  2. Newton, KS
  3. Halstead, KS
  4. Pittsburg, KS

D) Four TV shows you love to watch:

I don't really watch TV but here are a few I can think of that I used to watch

  1. Storm Stories
  2. Trading Spaces
  3. While You Were Out
  4. ER

E) Four places you have been on vacation:

  1. Deer Isle, Maine
  2. Colorado
  3. Burlington, Vermont
  4. California

F) Four websites I visit often:

  1. many blogs :)
  3. eBay
  4. the bank and the library

G) Four of my favorite foods:

  1. Cheesecake with a granola crust and homemade whipping cream
  2. Fresh Blueberries or pineapple
  3. cottage cheese and jalapenos
  4. Peanut butter and honey

H) Four places I would rather be right now:

  1. Cooler climate - Maine?
  2. Starbucks with friends
  3. In Kansas with friends and family
  4. On a weekend getaway with E somewhere mountainess and cool

I) Four friends I think will respond:
I think I've used up all my friends in the past month. :)

Friday, July 21, 2006

Gifts from China

It's like Christmas in July around here. Eric brought back a ton of fun things for the kids and I. My main gift is a red Chinese silk robe which I decided not to post a picture of me in. :)

Beth received a beautiful metal horse. Each kid asked for something specific so E worked hard to get what each one wanted.

Jake received a bronze dragon.

Alex wanted a flashy rolex. She got what she asked for!

Family gift - Chinese Checkers in a hand painted and lacquered sheepskin box

Lucy asked for a Chinese American Girl (only this kind of contradiction would come from Lucy!). This is the closest thing he could find. They had porcelain and plastic so he bought plastic knowing it would last a couple of days instead of a couple of hours with this little girl.

This is just a little taste of the treats he's been passing out for the last 24 hours. Words can't do justice to the relief and happiness we're feeling having Eric back. I think I'm smothering him. :) I did get to go to the store by myself for the first time in months. It took me longer than usual because I was trying to savor every minute. We just finished a wonderful family supper and getting ready to tuck everyone in for the night. The jet lag hasn't consumed Eric as much this time...probably because he was acclimated to the time change well enough before switching back...another positive aspect of being gone so long. Again, just so thankful tonight to be reunited.

Welcome back

Alex took this picture of Dave and Gale at the airport. She wanted a picture of Dave wearing the goofy hat with animal hair (I know, gross) hanging from the back of it. Dave is a just a little tired...

Thursday, July 20, 2006

I'm whole again

Counting the hours...

I am no longer counting weeks or days but hours. I can't even explain the anticipation I am feeling and the excitement that is rocking me to my core. My tears today are still falling but they are purely tears of complete joy and relief. Absence does make the heart grow fonder (at least until our first fight probably within 5 minutes of his arrival). :) I'm grateful I thought he was coming in tomorrow making today seem like a wonderful treat. We survived...not alone but with a huge community here that has wrapped their arms around us and given us a lifeline to persevere.

Thanks Gail

My childhood friend, Gail just left. She helped fill my need for adult conversation for the past 36 hours (thankfully because I'm sure E isn't going to be the best conversationalist for a few days), vacuumed my whole house, mopped all the floors, cleaned bathrooms, folded and hung laundry, helped me carouse kids, helped me stay sane, told me it was OK not to mow, overlooked my messy car, understood my crazy kids and my burnt out core, lifted my spirits, and joked and laughed with me. I am so grateful she was obedient to the silent nudging she felt and came to my rescue. I would not enjoy this day nearly as well if she hadn't bailed me out. Thanks Gail for giving me my sanity back and being my friend for 29 years! (oh, and for ditching your kids and driving 536 miles one way, missing the jr high slip and slide birthday party at church, and the many other sacrifices I don't even know about!)

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Nanny 911 - Reinforcements have arrived

When I say no, some people just don't listen. My friend Gail from Kansas showed up on my doorstep last night. She called me and said she was coming and I told her I already told my dad not to come because it would stress me out having to get my house ready for company. Plus, I'm watching two extra kids this week so I just didn't have time to have my house adult-worthy. She said Ok and then ignored me and showed up anyway. Left her kids in Kansas, drove 8 hours by herself (yes, leaving the kids behind cuts off a whole hour+ off the trip), and was here in time to catch a little of Jake's game and help put kids to bed. The time should fly now. E will be home in soon! :)

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

For Jody

For Jody...

(thanks for the email Shana!)

Monday, July 17, 2006

Pray for E

If anyone is really out there this is the night I need help. I just got off the phone with E and the discouragement he is facing is incredible. He has worked a whole month on a project that is not improving, he is coming home to a huge mess at work, and he has not had internet access to do his schoolwork since Thursday or Friday. His teacher is not being understanding that he is in a third world country and traveling to 3 or 4 different cities in 4 days. He is homesick, he is tired, and he is feeling very negative. At this point all he can see is how he is coming home from being away from us for a month and will not have the time in the near future to spend with us due to all these problems. I tried to encourage him but I think all I can do now is pray. If anyone is out there and has a chance please pray for him too. He is in a very dark place and is experiencing spiritual warfare.

Lucy's Bad Day

Lucy skinned her knee earlier and was unable to walk due to the severe pain and bleeding (no drama here... :) ) . And, just a few minutes ago she was stung by a bee on her finger and on the side of her head and now she's starting to swell up. Nothing a little benedryl can't cure. Poor Lucy isn't having a very good day!

Beth and Lucy

Here are some photos I took with my phone from the last week out at the ballpark.

Lucy and Beth coloring instead of running around like crazy girls or playing in the dirt. This was a rare occurance so I thought I needed a picture of it.

At this game they were getting a little naughty so I made them sit in the car with me. They found Jake and Alex's KU hats in their boredom.

Beth and Lucy's last game and last team huddle.

Weekend Partier

I kept busy this weekend closing down several parties. I think each time my hosts would have had to TELL me to leave if natural consequences hadn't taken over. At one Jake was overheated and started feeling yucky and began throwing up. Kind of put a damper on the party so we left. It's amazing, though, how we can be surrounded by people and still be lonely for one who's absent.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Never eat out with the Bullers...

We just got back from eating out with the wife of Eric's cohort and shopping partner in China. She is alone too now that her husband has joined Eric. We swam this afternoon and then went to church so when we made it to the restaurant this evening they were all a little crazy. By the time I got through the line at Quiznos not only was the guy behind me laughing his head off he had the workers all laughing at me. Then I had to fess up that I forgot to order food for one of the kids and had to have them quickly make one more sandwich while the rest of the people behind me waited. All this while the kids were playing run and slide on the freshly mopped floor (sure they were impressed with having to re-mop) and playing in the bathroom. Then Lucy spilled her drink all over her bench seat and the floor and Alex decided to eat alone at her own table for who knows why. We squeezed in some good adult conversation between eating, all the kids talking at her (of course, using the interrupt rule but talking while using it) and Jake accidentally pulling his tooth out, gushing blood onto a napkin, in the middle of the meal. I know my friend's kids are grown but I think she was reminded of childhood and also saw a little window into my life. I think some of the time she laughed just because there really was no other solution to the chaos that was occurring.

Save Spots

The kids just informed me they are having a secret meeting about how they are going to save Spots. (I am thinking about giving ALL the cats to a farm. I found one willing to take them!)
I get this email from Family Life called "Moments Together for Couples". Haven't really wanted to read it lately seeing as I'm not a completed couple right now. But, I have had no energy to do anything and I have been just piddling around on the computer and decided to read today's email. Of course, it was just what I needed. It was on discouragement.

"Realize that God uses hardship to perfect our faith (see Rom. 5:1-10). God promises that we'll one day reap if we don't grow weary."

Praying today that some good is coming out of this time alone and that I would not grow weary. The end is in sight.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Last game of the season...almost

Jake had his last game tonight...almost. The tournament began tonight and they only move forward if they win. Since this hadn't happened much this season I allowed myself to believe this would be the last night we sat out in the humid, stagnant heat. I was dead wrong. Jake had the best game all season with four big hits including a double. The whole team played really well and they move on and play Monday night. So, baseball season continues...and I'm totally proud of this big kid of mine! And I'm sure his dad would be too. Way to go Jake!

1 down, 4 to go...

My friend Jessica just took home a kitten. One down, four to go. Anyone need a new pet??? I promise they're cute and they won't turn into cats...ha ha. :)


"Friendship multiplies the good of life and divides the evil."
-- Baltasar Gracian (1647)

Thanking God tonight for many good friends who have divided all the evil in my week.

"Your friend is the man who knows all about you, and still likes you."
-- Elbert Hubbard

Thursday, July 13, 2006

It's Thursday...

Well, less than 8 days to go now and we are counting down. My little troopers have been missing daddy with tears at bedtime. But, it has only gotten more evident in the last two nights so I think I can get them over the hump and down the last stretch. I woke up early this morning so I could mow while everyone slept and the mower wouldn't start. I had it on the battery charger but forgot to plug it in. So, now it is on the agenda for this afternoon. I went to wake Lucy to get her to pee in a cup for her tests today but she beat me to it and had already tinkled all over her sleeping bag and my bedroom floor. I'm adding "clean up the the human pee spell in my room" to my list of things to do today. At least it wasn't on her new bed. :) I'm about 3 hours behind schedule already today, still need to get Lucy to pee in a cup and then heading to the grocery store and to run errands. I have about 300 things to accomplish by sundown. So, after having a rough morning I'm keeping my attitude in check and stealing a quote from another blog (Big E: see the blog etiquette rules, line 21, it's OK)...

"This day still is mine for the taking--it just looks a little different."
(thanks Jody)

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


Many of you know I am a BIT of a germ freak. I carry hand sanitizer, don't like the kids to drink out of my straw, hate public restrooms, etc. So today I was at McDonald's and one of the workers there proceeded to tell me, AFTER the kids had played for over 3 hours, that about an hour before we came in there was a sewer backup in the tubes of the play place...meaning there was other people's poop backed up in the tubes where my little people just spent hours playing in, then eating, then playing. I couldn't stop laughing at the reality of what she was telling me and I kept thinking of the vivid Oprah flashbacks of the horrid bacteria a flushing toilet sprays all over a room, let alone a backup of this kind. Needless to say we left soon after and I threw away their socks along with hosing them down with anti-bacterial cleaner.

This also reminds me of another story from Kansas...our friends get together on New Year's Eve and have a "Fry Fest" out at a local camp. Everyone brings food to fry and there's a huge fryer set up and it just fries all night long. The kicker is that the fryer is set up in one of the most unimaginable places...the men's bathroom. Here's a picture of me relieving the "head" fryer of his duties for a little while so I could make sure all the bacteria was choked out by all the grease...

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Ok, I thought of something reasonably nice...

For the last 13 years, since I lived at 811 W. 2nd Street in Halstead, KS (6 or 7 houses ago) as a newlywed and had a short-width shelf to stack my towels on in the teeny-tiny little buttermilk yellow and forest green bathroom, I've always folded our towels the same way. In half lengthwise once, then in half lengthwise again, then thirds (my mom taught me halves on the last step but halves didn't fit on that little shelf above the toilet). For some reason last week I started folding the towels in half width-wise, then in half width-wise again, and then in thirds. What's up with that??

I've got nothin'

My mom used to tell me "if you don't have anything nice to say don't say anything at all."

Well, mom. I'm finally obeying...

Monday, July 10, 2006

I've had a very trying day and I can't even put into words all the crap that hit me today. I have 3 different little people STILL crying at me about going to bed and I am thoroughly fried. I'll blog another day...

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Lucky 13

Did I tell you Lucy is back to normal???

The kids and I have had a great day. As I sat back and watched them swim today (overlooking the minor bickering) I realized I am such a lucky girl. The kids are relatively normal (as good as can be expected with me as their primary influence) and they love people. They may not be the quiet, respectful kids that sit back and portray the old saying "children are to be seen and not heard" but I am very glad. They make friends with everyone they come in contact to...from the empty nest couple suntanning at the pool to the waiter at Applebee's. They hug their friends, they hug MY friends, they love people. I have made a ton of mistakes but if they just grow up and love people I am content. We stuck to the plan today; swimming, Applebee's and church, added in a few visitors to play with the kittens, and ended the day with finishing up a package to send to E and dropping it off at the Schmidts. The kids hugged and loved on Dave so he could pass it on to daddy (just a sidenote E, the sloppy wet kiss Dave will give you is from Lucy...I'm saving mine for you personally). As we snuggle into bed tonight, having our weekend campout in my room, we are thankful that we have each other. The sun has set on day 13 and we have 13 days to go.

It's a New Day


Just kidding. But, I am able to work out in the privacy of my own bedroom and I love it!

AND - I finally got out last night. My kids were up late too so everyone slept in...some are still sleeping and I've decided to mow another day. We're off to play and then to Applebee's to use our free kids meals from the summer reading program. What a difference time away makes.

Thursday, July 06, 2006


I have pulled out all the parenting books I own. The most frequented in the last day or so is "How to Love Your Angry Child." I think we have issues.

And, I keep noticing more nice looking males at the ballpark than I ever have before.... (watch out E, maybe you better catch the next flight home after all) :) just kiddin' (about the flight anyway...)

...maybe I just need to get out.

Day 11

My friend Gail called this morning and reminded me that her mom parented alone for 9 years (this came up AFTER she validated my pity party...she didn't just call and say this right off the bat). She is very right. Many women do this for life and I only have to do it for a month...

Our first 11 days seemed to have flown by really. There's so much to be thankful for:

  • Even though Lucy's infection was no picnic I am thankful I have had things on my mind to keep me busy.
  • I am thankful that I've been falling into bed at night dead tired and not getting around to the dishes or nightly chores.(ok, this only came after 3 nights of NO sleep)
  • I am thankful that everyone has slept in, including myself.
  • I am thankful for pull-ups that I can put on Lucy at the ballpark when she has to pee 4 times.
  • I'm thankful for my friends who continually call or email and check on me.
  • I'm REALLY thankful for diet coke.
  • I'm thankful the kids are still giggling - I haven't been the most fun mommy and the giggles have been getting on my nerves.
  • I'm thankful the library ladies took pity on me and my plight and took care of my $24.30 library fees on overdue books (all due the day Lucy got sick).
  • I'm thankful we're almost 1/2 way through our month.
  • I'm thankful the Suburban is still going strong (hope I'm not jinxing it).
  • I'm thankful for Blockbuster and the library movie selections.

I'm sure this list could go on and on. Just keeping myself accountable to be thankful and not complain. I've got it really, really good.


Lucy gives new meaning to the 4th of July Barbie-cue. Yes, this is Barbie's chest that she strategically burned off on the grill. Barbie is now flat chested.

The 4th

Well, I'm not the best hostess. We had a family in for the 4th and my kids were bouncing off the walls with nautiness, my parenting was short-fused, and I forgot about the burgers on the grill. But, the kids were HAPPY, there was plenty of OTHER food, and my friends were FORGIVING. Happy 4th of July!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Day 9

The sun has set on day 9. You usually come home by the end of the week but still there are 2 and 1/2 weeks left until we see you again. Realizing this is the third fourth of July we haven't spent together and determined that it will be the last for a while. Alex has been a handful this week as she misses you most. Missing you with lonely tears tonight and a heavy parenting load.


The charm of fishing is that it is the pursuit of what is elusive but attainable, a perpetual series of occasions for hope. ~John Buchan


She's starting to feel better! Last night she wrote her name on the back of my bathroom door with metallic blue nailpolish. She also made a nice big puddle on the carpet with it too. She's back!

Jake and Barbie

Jake fishing with the Barbie pole (E would be so proud). He was nice enough to let someone borrow his.


Donald Miller plead a good case about our need for community in "Blue Like Jazz." I'm a believer.

I haven't really taken time out to realize how much I need friends. A couple of girlfriends just left after bringing in a movie to watch. It was great nourishment for my soul. I really do need my friends.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Blogging etiquette

E has informed me that it is not good blogging etiquette to steal pictures and stories off of other people's blog. What??? I think there's a clause in the blogging etiquette handbook that he overlooked that says if you sleep with the blogger you get all rights to his contents. Am I right?

We (a couple of funny girls) FIXED the mower

This is a week of proving I can be independent. My friend Tina stopped by to donate a bike to Beth. I said to her, "hey, come over here and help me get this mower on the jack stands." She looked at me thinking all she came for was to donate a bike...wasn't that enough??? But, I am a very persuasive friend. I convinced her to help me. (I should tell you this is a big zero turn radius mower with a 52 inch deck I think) We got it up on the stands with a little help from Jake and his friend (I should stress very LITTLE help...Jake thought I was a nut case for even trying to fix it). I ruined one of my favorite shirts with grease, then tried to use the creeper (that thing E rolls around under cars with...he lays on it). It looks so easy to use but it was a funny sight with me rolling around on it (at this point Tina had taken my shirt to the laundry room to put a stain remover on it so I was in a white tank top...very unattractive). Somehow I got my hair stuck under the wheels and I was screaming for Jake who slowly walked over and was laughing (ok, Jody, maybe this was payback for the car top carrier episode) and I was at his mercy. He tried to help me get my hair unstuck but just got it stuck more. I finally got it out by leaving a nice chunk tangled in the wheel. Tina sat down beside me and we tried to bend the medal part back to its original place. I failed many times and finally Tina was able to bend it most of the way. We both worked on it from there and eventually were able to get it so the blades would clear. It was so funny. The mower was on a slant of the driveway so I kept rolling into it with that silly creeper and I never could figure out how Eric walks himself around on that thing. Maybe my legs were too short or too stubby. I thanked Tina for not taking a picture of me. So, the moral of the story is that a bunch of funny girls CAN fix a mower. Then I had to jump start it with the Camry (I'm getting really good at jumping things...can't wait to show you E) and away I went. I finally got the whole place mowed just before dark. Yipee!


I thought I had weathered enough medical issues with these four kids from pneumonia to RSV to craniofacial surgery to blood incompatibilities that I could think rationally. But I've never experienced any of these things without Eric, who usually is the logical and reasonable thinker. Yesterday I finally broke after two days of Lucy's fever teetering between 104 and 105.9. She was complaining adamantly of her abdomen hurting and she was crying for her daddy (which is odd because she always cries for me). I was groggy when we were at the doctor, all four kids were talking and I didn't ask the right questions. Yesterday the initial results of her tests led to urinary tract infection. She had two shots and they sent us home...with a high fever and still vomiting. She wasn't keeping any medications down and she had no bladder control. She was oozing from every area. And instead of the antibiotic helping it gave her diarrhea. Last night left us with another sleepless night of high fevers and vomiting but this morning the vomiting finally subsided. I was able to get her back into the doctor this afternoon and all the tests had come back...finally. She has a kidney infection. She had one more round of shots today and we'll go back for one more round tomorrow and then start a strong oral antibiotic that cost more than my utilities. :) I think I can rest tonight just knowing we finally know what's going on and that she is getting better. I know there's a lot of "finallys" in here but I am so relieved to be getting this over with!


First time by myself, the lawn is already 2 - 3 days past it's scheduled mowing,and I broke the mower! UGHH!!! The neighbor was nice enough to come tell me it didn't sound right (yes, I was still mowing with it anyway) and he looked it over and disected the problem. Now I just have to fix it...

(I'm going to take Jake out with me and fix it. He's old enough that some kind of natural ability for fixing it will come out of him, right?)

Sorry E!!!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Stories from South China

Not much to blog here tonight. Everyone is alive (although my DVD player didn't survive the day...). That's about all I can say. I have few words tonight so I'm stealing a funny story off of E's blog. We're thinking of him and reminded that his absence leaves a hole in our sanity and reasoning abilities. :)

The pictures you see are of my dinner: Chinese Hotpot. Basically, you make a soup full of "flavor enhancing ingredients", bring it to a boil, and then you throw meats, veggies, and things from the "other" category in to cook. In this case, half of the pot was "regular" soup and the other half was "make a grown man cry" spicy soup. As you can see, on my plate is tofu (my parents would be so proud), two types of mushrooms, garlic cloves, cabbage, and some lamb. At the bottom of the picture, you will notice a small round seed. My host told me that it is a seasoning, but if I chew on it I will receive a strange sensation in my mouth. Since I am always willing to eat something stupid once, I popped it in and started chewing (in spite of the terrible taste). She didn't tell me I only needed to crack it, and then spit it out. As soon a I began feeling the "tingle", I swallowed the seed and chased it with some hot tea. By then, it was too late. Beginning with my tongue, my entire mouth became numb, except for the incessant tingling. My saliva glands were working overtime as my mouth began to fill up with spit. As soon as I would chase the spit down with the hot tea, my mouth would fill up again. It only took five minutes to recover most of the feeling in my mouth, but it was the longest five minutes of my life. The good news is, my hosts got a good laugh. Ha Ha, very funny! The paralyzing seed and I now share the same name: Numb Nut.