Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Seriously. I didn't spend much time looking pretty today like the other two so I refuse to post the original picture. Although the photographer was 5 and did a very fine job.

12 meals, a day full of laughter, another item checked off the list for next week. I am blessed (and ready for bed!).

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Checking Things Off

I'm checking things off my list left and right and trying to get ready to leave. I've added a few things but will make next week's prep for the big trip a little easier. Next week I can really focus on cleaning and packing. The kids are beside themselves excited to see their cousins. I'm walking into a ton of work to help the people at home who have been slaving for months to make this sale happen. I feel a little guilty for not being able to help ahead of time but I'm sure they aren't so annoyed with me that they'd turn down my extra set of hands the day before and morning of the sale. Looks to be a cool weekend in Kansas. It will bring back memories of many, many past falls on the farm. From here it is easy to remove myself from these memories and remember it is only "stuff" and doesn't matter in this life (only the memories of the people matter). But, when I get there, I know I'll struggle with remembering this so my prayer for today is to not attach to anything, only anyones.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Here's why...

I received a guilt ridden message today from my sister (wait, there were actually TWO messages) about not calling her back. So, in an effort to shed some light on my "TO DO" list, here's a glimpse at tomorrow's (Monday) tasks (I really AM a good sister...just too tired to return phone calls):

  • Daily Devotions/Bible Study Fellowship Questions
  • Exercise (more than just sitting on the bed and WATCHING the Firm videos)
  • Go to church and find the pill bottle with questions for the Dear Ernie column and give them to "Dear Ernie" so he can come up with some ground-breaking advice for the next issue of THE VIRUS newsletter.
  • Plan meals and make a grocery list for food while E and P are out of the country in just two short weeks.
  • Write a missions blurp for the bulletin.
  • Send out emails with small group schedule
  • Do 15 loads of laundry (so my mom doesn't chastize me for being so behind again)
  • 9 am meeting.
  • Get a picture from a sponsor interviewed for THE VIRUS and complete editing for the publication.
  • Email my brother-in-law to see if he's finished drawing up our will (you know, in case we die on the way to house will be spotless too). :)
  • Email my mom and brother to finalize sleeping arrangements for the weekend.
  • Double check pricing for rental cars
  • Make calls to confirm party participation for the Fall parties next week for my room parent duties.
  • Start packing for Kansas.
  • Lose 20 pounds before Thursday so if I see anyone I haven't seen in a long time they don't recognize me (ok, I might not get this one done tomorrow but I thought I'd throw it in).
  • Plan Beth's birthday next week
  • Call for an appointment for my shots
  • Oversee Jake's thank you writing
  • Reschedule dental appointments for me and Alex
  • Buy my sister a very belated birthday present
  • Call the sprinkler guy and find out why he hasn't come back to finish the job he started (MY SPRINKLER ISN'T WINTERIZED AND IT's FROSTING!)
  • Back up my pictures
  • Close jewelry show
  • Make supper
  • 2:30 pm Pick up kids from school
  • 3 - 4 pm supervise homework
  • 4 pm guitar
  • 5-6 pm feed kids (assuming sometime before that I MADE supper)
  • 7 pm - Jake basketball practice
  • 7:30 pm - bathe Lucy and Beth and get them to bed
  • 8:00 pm - Pick up Jake from basketball
  • 8:30 pm - make sure Jake and Alex have showered and tuck them in
  • 8:40 pm - lay out clothes for morning and pack lunch boxes, sign planners
  • 9:15 - midnight or later - finish whatever I didn't get done during the day
  • Ok. I think that's do-able. (thick sarcasm involved here) And I haven't even begun to clean.

      Mouse Hunt

      We've been playing a frustrating game of kill the mouse at our house. The food in my pantry has gone into quarantine. We've removed all feed from the mouse's reach and he just keeps eating our bait without getting hit. At one point Eric was standing in the doorway of the pantry and said to me, "Pam, get me a broom handle so I can smash this thing with the end of it. I can't move from here because I'm making eye contact." First of all, I refused to let him use my broom - we all know this would gross me out for an eternity - and second of all mice don't make eye contact. After I searched for several panicky minutes for an alternative to my every day broom handle (further digesting the fact that there could be mouse guts spewing everywhere inside my food storage closet in a few short minutes), the little speedy gonzalez dropped eye contact with the big scary human and ran between his legs out of the pantry and under the refrigerator. UGH! These are the blessings of living on the edge of the country (something one of my friends who is moving may soon find out, I'm sure. :) love you...but you might have a pet soon after all).


      Friday, October 20, 2006

      A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor's book. ~Irish Proverb

      I could use a little of both tonight. :)
      I'm a little concerned that Jake enjoyed the jewelry almost as much as the girls tonight. But, then at the end he pulled me aside and said he had picked out a special necklace to buy for Beth for her birthday with his money he was saving for a game cube. It never ceases to amaze me how God grows their character despite me.

      Eric goes to Canada tomorrow. I'm still up baking. Some cool God stuff going on behind the scenes for our upcoming trip out of the country. And, I received confirmation today that my travel visa should be here tomorrow. Eric fixed my dishwasher. He took off work early to take Jake to basketball practice. My mom and dad are paying for a rental car so I can make it to Kansas next week for the estate sale. Each day seems busier than before and our blessings are too many to count. Yet tonight I feel such gratitude I'd like to keep track of every one.

      Thursday, October 19, 2006

      Crazy Day

      Today is a little crazy. I just got in from bible study in Iowa City. Stopped off on the way home and grabbed some groceries and now need to clean the whole house. I haven't kept up on any chores this week after being out of it at the get-go. The house smells like an old man's BO and I'm not sure why. So now, instead of dealing with the trashed state of this place, I'm blogging. Actually, it started out as checking blogs and email and turned into this! The kids will be home soon to help trash the place a little more so I'm bracing myself for patience and perseverance through the cleaning process. If I forgot to invite any of you to my jewelry party tonight please consider this an invitation. I was sending out emails last week in a hurry and know I forgot a bunch of my friends. It's at 7 pm here at the Pam's Party Pad. I am not good at parties but I will have them for my friends. This consultant is new to town and she has a daughter in Alex's class. You'll love her just as I did the first time I met her! Come for cream puffs and popcorn (Ok, yes, this is pathetic but you should see my list of things to do) and bring your daughter. Mine will be here!

      Wednesday, October 18, 2006

      "We must walk through every open door. Then God can close the door behind us or keep it open."

      Quote from Eric's wise friend
      I'm so tired...

      • I'm letting Lucy sleep naked.
      • I'm letting Beth have a bedtime snack even though she refused to eat supper (she needs some meat on her bones).
      • I told everyone on the way home from AWANA it was straight to bed. Now I'm letting Jake stay up and read and the ones I've put to bed are dancing.
      • I'm forgetting about the dishes even though my dishwasher has been un-useable for a week and we have no clean ones left.

      I'm not winning the good mommy award tonight. The End.

      Tuesday, October 17, 2006


      I'm experiencing a hangover from all the meds I've taken over the last 36 hours. In this quiet house I'm not sure how I come down with migraines but somehow I do. I went to bed on verge of barfing last night and knew if I started with that I'd have to go to the ER in order to get it to stop. I took a motion sickness medicine with my others and thankfully it kept my guts inside all night long. I stirred for a few minutes this morning to help E get the kids off to school. The bus was early (yes, the one time we need it to be late) and E tried to chase it down with Lucy in the back seat. Two made the bus, one home sick and Eric never caught up with the bus with the fourth. He went on to school and sat in the car for a while and then ended up dropping Lucy off really early and not following any of the drop-off procedures. I was so glad not to be a witness. He had to run all over town for me to cover my responsiblities for the day. Then a stop for 7 up and the morning was almost gone. Working from home today proved to be a challenge for him. I am thankful he stayed around and held down the fort while I slept the day away. After a long day of playing dad and mom he is now typing away at papers due two days ago and work he didn't get the chance to finish today. Sleep for him may be a long ways off. Makes me feel a little guilty (at least until tomorrow when I'm trying to catch up on all the cleaning and picking up that didn't happen today). :)

      Thursday, October 12, 2006

      "We cannot know what prayer is for until we know that life is war."

      John Piper

      Life is a struggle we can't win without prayer.

      (that fine quote courtesy of Pam B.)



      Dear Jake -
      A decade sometimes seems like a flash in time. I can't explain where the time has gone. Ten years ago I gave birth to my firstborn and only son. I had no idea how life would change. We waited so long for you with so many complications along the way. When you finally came into this world you did it in true Buller fashion - late. I remember the moment I met you like it was yesterday. You were purple with dark colored skin and a full pitch black head of hair. If I hadn't seen them pull you out from under those sheets below me I wouldn't have believed you were mine. But at that same moment I fell in love for a lifetime. Know this my son. I would give my life for you. I would give my heart for your happiness. I would give my legs for your quick stride down the path of obedience to Christ.

      As I looked in your eyes tonight I was reminded how quickly you're really growing up. You stand almost as tall as me, speaking with clarity and confidence. You have a heart of encouragement and use words of affirmation to show love to those around you. You have a sensitive heart with a thoughtful and kind spirit looking out for those who are hurting. You are a mirror image of your father in so many ways - you read while you eat, you love fresh bread while it's still hot out of the oven, you build up anger internally and then blow like a volcano. You have an analytical thinking cap complimenting your statistical speech. You always know the time, the temperature and the page number you're on in your book. You love wheat thins and have recently discovered Triscuits. You beg for a fishing trip every birthday. You buck change and respond in acting out. As you grow into the man God wants you to be I pray you have the obedience and repentance of Isaiah as in Isaiah 6 and use the knowledge you're storing to glorify God.

      You confided in me the desires of your heart for when you grow up. I pray whatever God's purpose for your life is that you would know we are behind you 100%. You can do anything through Christ. He will never abandon you and though the ways of this world may someday come between you and me, know that you can always rely and look to God for wisdom and understanding. I am but a mere woman who has been given the gift of being Jacob's mother. My wisdom and understanding is limited and flawed. Yet I know the one true way through life is only that of the Father in Heaven. My prayer for you Jake is that you realize at a young age the plans God has for you. That you pursue those plans and relinquish control of them. Don't waste time on the things of this world like I have. I pray you "love from the center of who you are" (Romans 12:9) and be a Christ-motivated servant to those in your midst.

      Jake, tonight the words on this paper cannot describe the overwhelming love I have for you. The sweet melody of yesterday playing through my heart. I'm reflecting back on your childhood thus far, knowing I've screwed up, knowing I've done the best I could, knowing I will screw up again. I loved you as I held you in my arms while you threw a kicking, screaming and biting fit. I loved you when you spit at your sisters and taunted them. I loved you despite the fact you forgot to do your chores because you were reading. Whoever you are, wherever you are, however you are, whatever you become I love you and am grateful to be your mom.

      Wednesday, October 11, 2006

      The final verdict

      The final verdict on what treat to make for school tomorrow is...cream puffs.
      What kid asks for cream puffs for his birthday? What crazy mom stays up half the night making 51 cream puffs?
      I really, really love this kid. (times about 51 cream puffs)

      Tuesday, October 10, 2006

      Uncreative, Jumbled Thoughts

      Ok, in no organized fashion I'm jotting down some of the days' events.

      • I tried to be a big girl (no pun intended) and go to a weight watchers meeting and just my luck they stopped having them during the week.
      • Lucy's teacher is getting married on Saturday and I just cracked up at the way my kindergartner explained why she couldn't be at school starting in two days. "You know, mom, it takes time to plan these things. So we have a sustitube (not a spelling error. This is how she talks) for two days and then a whole bunch more after that so she can be a wife."
      • Eric and I realized that the school didn't have Jake's ITBS scores on file a few weeks ago (since he homeschooled the second semester last year). We couldn't figure out why he wasn't in this one extra class. So I turned them in and they said he was on the "radar" (meaning the class is now full so tough luck). I called the principal and discussed it with her because she knew from previous conversations that we have to keep Jake challenged. I was able to convince them to squeeze him into the class. Today he comes home complaining because he somehow got put in this class and now he has to catch up on all the homework he's missed since the beginning of the year. I can't win. :)
      • Jake is trying to teach Lucy (yes, kindergarten Lucy) long division and multiplication and I just heard her emphatically say, "Jake, I don't care." Poor guy. He means well.
      • I was very nervous handing a package containing my passport to a carefree-looking clerk at Mailboxes today. I kept getting this feeling that I didn't complete all the "right" info for my travel visa...and I'm in a time crunch to get back. Thought I would wet myself looking over the paperwork while she stared at me and everyone behind me waited. Then I rushed to the car to get the kids from school and all I could think was, "I hope I signed everything in the right places."
      • My firstborn is a ten tomorrow. I am getting away for the evening so I was discussing the treat situation for school and his expectations. I was going to just make a batch of cupcakes or something. He says, "Could you make two for each person...or maybe cookies and cupcakes...and maybe a choice between chocolate and vanilla...with maybe some kind of filling?" Oh my. I should've started out long ago making crappy treats...

      Assembly Line

      This is Jake's assembly line for sandwich making. He gets impatient with me in the mornings because he likes to leave for the bus stop about 15 - 20 minutes before the bus arrives. He is not sure I can get everything done that I need to so this is how he helps out. Not sure where this kid gets his punctuality from. Definately not keeping Buller time. :)

      Saturday, October 07, 2006

      Things I've learned lately - revisited

      I was reading some of my old posts and was cracking up at how some of the "things I've learned lately" in March I'm still learning. The red is the updated version.

      • No one in my house knows how to flush the toilet after having a BM. This one hasn't changed.
      • Eric likes to sleep in on Saturday mornings...not clean (he is a little grumpy if he cleans). No one likes to clean on Saturday mornings and it turns into a big yelling fest.
      • Having a clean house isn't in the bible. (THANKS JAMIE) Actually, I've been thinking about this one and really, did they have as much junk as we have now??? It didn't need to be in the bible. I'd have been better off anyway in bible times because there weren't all these people who knew every kind of germ out there sharing it with us. I would've enjoyed the lack of knowledge.
      • I shouldn't worry about the state of my house if it prevents me from hosting someone. Unless it breaks health codes, then I should probably just visit with them on the driveway.
      • Having people stop by is a blessing...even if the house is trashed. No one stops by much. Guess they think I'm too busy cleaning.
      • Having four kids means I learn four times more about different personalities and how to interact with them and how to love them. And how to break up fights and how to listen long enough to a cry to know if it's real or drama.
      • God loves a cheerful giver. It's also about motive.
      • Open dialogue with my kids about sex is important. Tell them sex is a good thing, not a negative thing. (THANKS VONI) And then don't forget to tell them that their friends don't need to know these things unless their parents talk to them about it.
      • My son shouldn't answer the phone anymore. Everyone thinks he's me. He stopped answering the phone. I think he was tired of talking to telemarketers.
      • Lucy should NOT have alone time unless she's asleep. This one still holds true. And even then, you never know how long she'll stay asleep so she shouldn't be left unattended.
      • Little girls start talking about boyfriends when they are 4. They need all the daddy time they can get.
      • Some people like me because I'm me. I don't have to prove to them I'm worth it. But a good batch of cinnamon rolls or butterhorns and jam don't really hurt either.
      • Reading 7 books at one time is overwhelming. I still haven't learned.
      • Make a deadline when starting a quilt. Hmmm...I'm pleading the 5th on this one.
      • Screaming isn't always in agony. Unfortunately, there's more screaming without the agony going on here. We are not a quiet place. They like to hear their voices.
      • My kids were born to be loud. Someday God will use it for His glory.
      • The people who sit in front and behind us in church might always be annoyed with our kids. God loves my loud kids anyway (even when Lucy puts her feet on the seat in front of her and makes their head bob). We've learned to go to Saturday night church where kidzone happens while we go to church.
      • Kids are sinful and don't know any better until I teach them what's right. And I'm not the best example. I'm sinful and sometimes that sin blinds me from KNOWING what's right. How can I expect them to get it?
      • My husband needs time to unwind when he comes in from work. His day is more stressful than mine. We fixed this one by keeping him at work until everyone's in bed.
      • Sex is good any time of day (Whoa! Just thought I'd throw that in there to see if you're still with me!) No comment. I'm afraid my mom might read this.
      • Some people are good at faking that they are Christians. You never really know. Ask Eric how good he was at it. Pray for everyone I come in contact with. This one still rings true for me.
      • 75 gallon water heaters are made to be fully used up. Cold rinsing is better for my conditioner anyway. Alex learned that from her body book.
      • Grounding Jake from reading is really hard. This is now the only form of grounding that works though.
      • My mom still does a good job of taking care of me when I'm sick. She can handle the whole package (four kids to get to bed for me!). I've learned my mom lives too far away...especially today.
      • Real friends are friends you can go for months or a year without seeing and you can pick up where you left off. Real friends are close by too.
      • There are too many kinds of foreign beers.
      • Dessert wine is really good. Too much of it isn't.
      • No one reads long blogs. The internet is too fast and someone else has one with pictures and few words.
      • AND...the most important thing I've learned lately: My kids are watching everything I say and do. I'm their biggest example (OH SH*T!). Start praying for them now.

      Kicked out

      I think I might get kicked out of our small group. I have been battling a kidney stone today and so I am a little drugged up. Within the evening I think I told them my pee is orange and belched at the table several times. I think I may have said even more but I am going to act like no one was listening to me.

      And everyone thought I was already a little odd before the medications...

      Just like a Sharpie on the Wall...

      This is one of those things I don't want to wash off. It bugs the jaheebees out of E when the kids write on the car when it's dirty. He says it scratches it. (not sure if he realizes how crappy our cars are) Artwork is courtesy of Bethie B. Someday we'll miss this!

      Friday, October 06, 2006

      This Morning

      I was awaken by a 9 year old boy taunting his 8 year old sister and fighting at 5:45 am. Needless to say our morning walk lasted one lap around the circle and some time to ourselves in our rooms. Two kids made the bus this morning. Two kids drug their feet and didn't make the bus this morning. Opportunity #1 to choose a positive spin on a negative situation. We read books and took more time for their breakfast. Got in the car to take the remaining two kids to school. Looked for keys for 10 minutes (we usually leave them in the ignition...if someone REALLY wants the Suburban they can steal it). Realized Eric drove it yesterday since I went to Iowa City with the gas saving car. Ran back down to get keys off dresser. NO keys. Spare key missing. Called E. All keys located in his pocket. E is heading off to an important meeting. Opportunity #2 to choose a positive spin instead wailing fury. I called my friend Cheryl W. to bail me out. She was already at school and dropped her kids off, then turned around and came for mine. She also had to take the things the bigger kids forgot. Missed AR at 10 am (still no keys). Opportunity #3 to choose a positive spin on a negative deal. I'm taking advantage of being stuck here and catching up on some reading, laundry and more. A reminder for me this morning that no matter what I plan for this life, it's not mine to plan.

      Tuesday, October 03, 2006

      Quick Fishing Trip

      Monday, October 02, 2006

      By the Grace of God

      I just have to share a small glimpse into the lifestyle we've become accustomed to and the grace and mercy God continues to shine upon us. The last two years Eric has been diligently working hard to complete his MBA. There have been a few times that classes have been unavailable, prolonging the finish line for our family. To bite the bullet quicker, we made a decision at the beginning of summer for Eric to double up on classes and insanely finish ASAP. The ramification for this was that Eric is just unavailable most of the time for the kids and I. This has been a difficult pill to swallow, sometimes discouraging me and leaving me wallowing in self pity when I lose my focus. But after a time, I realize that this temporary "abandonment" is only that...temporary. With the end fully in sight now, life without Eric has become "how it is." The simple joy of re-introducing him into every day activities is one I intend to savor and rejoice upon. In the time being, I am so thankful that although Eric has been unavailabe, God has never left my side and has not only been my crutch, my strength and my light, but has used my friends to drag my buns off the ground and pull me up again out of a pit of quick sand. Again, after a long weekend of quieting kids and disappearing so Eric could finish 6 difficult 4 page assignments in addition to two 10 page requirement papers (one ending up being 23 pages and then condensed to 18), and all turned in late due to interfering work mishaps, God patted Eric on the back with another round of A's. I am so proud of him and the perseverance he has allowed to prevail. I know his life hasn't been easy either...missing out on so many things. By the grace of God the end of this road will come, we will still married (I am saying this on faith), we will still be the parents of four children, and God will still be an everlasting God who has never and will never abandon us.

      Five and a half weeks and counting. Thank God.

      6 AM

      Jake joined our exercise group before the sun came up. Nice thing about Jake is he's always on time and he is a rule keeper (little more Decker in him than Buller). I was trying to sneak in a snooze or two on the alarm clock and he was relentless and in my face over and over so I gave up and got up. A few laps around the North Twain circle and then I made them run sprints in the driveway. Funny thing about it being group participation is they made me run them too. At least I have accountability and some alone time with the two big kids. Hopefully a great start to a new day and a new week.

      Entertaining a guest from China this evening here on business with E. I'm a little nervous about what to make for dinner and getting it all pulled together in time with an early out today. Do you think she'd be offended if I ordered Papa Murphy's? :) It's times like these that I remember I'm the grown up now. Entertaining business associates and suppliers happened all the time when I was little so it feels a little surreal. Funny how I married someone who travels like my own father did.

      New Fashion

      These girls are always such trend-setters. Yes, they are wearing panties on their heads and sock gloves. They are princesses. :)

      Sunday, October 01, 2006

      Once in a while a good friend comes along side and washes away your sorrows. That friend is via Cassie. Thanking God tonight for Quincy, who brought Jody and Cassie together and then Jody introducing me to Cassie. A friend with a kind heart who brought cheer to a sorrowful day and left her contagious spirit behind to continue encouraging me. A friend who stopped in and took time she didn't have to listen to me and distract me. A friend who had 10 things on her own plate to finish within the hour but still took time to hang with me. Thanking God tonight for good friends who love without judgment and who love unconditionally. Just thanking God tonight.