Monday, May 28, 2007
. . .the price of freedom
It's all in the comprehension of it, and that never came to me until I was a nineteen year old on another continent. Oh, I was very patriotic - no doubt there! With three of my four grandparents having served in the Navy and numerous cousins who have devoted years to the military, I was taught to respect the uniform and those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

Good Old Dad. . .he pulled us out of bed every Memorial Day morning to attend some ceremony honoring Veterans. I have heard a great deal of gun salutes and tear jerking speeches. I have watched as legions of older people marched Old Glory up some cemetery lane and eventually placed a wreath on a grave. It was doing just what Dad wanted - planting seeds that would eventually bloom as patriotic citizens. It worked; Dad has five Flag honoring offspring!

Seeds were also planted in school, as every single morning of my education, my hand was over my heart as a pledge flowed from my lips. I became patriotic and grateful, but I still didn't realize the beauty of my freedom.

Then I went to Europe.

No, I wasn't really touring, although I did a good deal of sight-seeing. I was there to make a difference, but the biggest difference happened in me. . .

While there,

- I saw what communism does to the human soul and spirit.

- Through streets I walked, I saw blockades intended for German troops.

- I saw trees with bullet and grenade scars.

- Almost every person I met had lost family members to the brutal Nazi machine - no age was spared. They were still talking about it generations later. . .

- I saw bombed buildings. (The darker section was left as a memorial.)

- Citizens thanked me for sending my "men" to save theirs. (Quite different than what the liberal media portrays!)

- Then I toured a war museum. . . The pictures, the remains, the pieces of human lives. . . Reminders of the atrocities committed by Hitler's men. . .

The museum left me heart broken and changed. When I made it back to the room where I was staying, I recall shutting the door and weeping. For the first time, the price of freedom dawned on me.
Upon my return to the USA, I cannot explain the joy that raced through me as I peered out a plane window and caught my first glimpse of American shoreline. When my feet finally landed on Florida soil, I almost kissed that, too! I am truly blessed to be an American. I cherish my freedom more than ever, and when I have to say that pledge of allegiance now. . . Well. . .all I do is cry!

My deepest appreciation goes to those who paid the price!

  posted at 8:51 AM  

Tuesday, May 22, 2007
A tale of nausea. . .
Sigh. . .I haven't been very good blogging company lately, have I? If you have never had to deal with pregnancy nausea, you have no understanding of it. If you have, you "feel my pain." I'll be honest and admit that sometimes I have a hard time focusing on the miracle of a growing baby because the nausea is relentless. I think I have forgotten how I healthy I was! I am not used to my house having a thick layer of dust, mounds of dirty laundry, piles of yucky dishes, nights of sleeplessness due to nausea. Right now, I just want my Mom here. I wish she could "run" my house and feed my kids something other than toast, cereal, crackers and mac/cheese. (They don't seem to mind. :-) The problem is that she is about 12 hours away. . . When I do feel well, I notice how the boys really need my attention. Phooey on the laundry, the kids need to be outside of the house. Out of their 12 pairs of undies, they still have about 2 pairs clean!
On Monday, I felt civil enough to take the boys to - -
the park. They were thrilled to pieces!!!!!!! Had a great time! I wish you could have met the boy that I did! He was the nine year old form of Eugene Meltzner (Sp?). Poor boy. He had "Nerd" written all over him. His glasses were so close to being horn-rimmed it was pitiful. The other kids shunned him - except for mine. I was his lucky ear, and all during our conversation (If you could call it that.), he kept talking on an imaginary cell phone to a "Sticker" and "Water Bottle." The sticker's name was Japanese sounding, so I cannot remember it. Too bad. You would've had a laugh! We finally left the park and headed home to - -
wash Troy's car (with the help of a neighbor girl). The boys also played in their pools for hours. It was a big day for me, but the boys had fun!
Today, it's back to reality. The nausea isn't so bad, but the piles of work make me depressed! I am so far behind in emails, correspondence, book work, etc. So, what have I done with the nausea reprieve you ask? Well. . .played the piano for quite a good amount of time, ran to Walmart (We were seriously out of essentials!!), cleaned a little, stitched up a bean bag, did some more organizing in a closet and put in one load of laundry. Oh, yes. . .I blogged! :-) Feeling too overwhelmed to attack the piles. (Besides, I would rather go read your blogs right now.)
On a good note, my new blog design was in my Inbox yesterday morning. Yippee! Maybe you will see it in a few days.

  posted at 3:17 PM  

Saturday, May 19, 2007
Not sure what is going on. . .
The last post will not allow a comment section to appear. Any ideas?
If you have any cute stories from your kids and their stuffed pets, just post them here. I would love to hear them.

  posted at 9:30 AM  

Friday, May 18, 2007
A Tale of Stuffed Animals
I am not sure at what level the fuzzy critters in your house reside, but here at the castle, these cotton-stuffed cuddlies are very special to a certain seven year old boy! It amazes me how personalities are revealed in the way a child tends to play with their toys - especially stuffed animals.
Seth, the more sensitive one, would have a sacred spot in his bed for every creature if he were allowed. (I try to keep the number in the teens, so that bed making is possible.) He has a hard time seeing them alone in the toy box when others are safe in his bed! (Their feelings might be hurt!) Pictured below are a few of the most beloved of them all~

Ethan, on the other hand, the impulsive-unpredictable child goes through stages with the animals. Sometimes they are in the way, and he wants none in his bed. Other times they are meticulously spread across his pillow. More than once they have been piled in the middle of his room and made a perfect trampoline! (No, he doesn't worry about their feelings!)
Recently, I have enjoyed some entertaining conversations with Seth - - conversations surrounding the animal kingdom in their room. . . Thought you might be amused! :-)

Scene 1: "The look."

Mommy - "Seth, Ethan would like to have the lion in his bed tonight."
Panic stricken Seth - "But, Mommy, the lion doesn't want to do that!"
"Oh, it doesn't, huh?! Please tell me how you came to that conclusion."
(I think this is where the tears began.) "Did you see the look on its face when you said it had to sleep in Ethan's bed? It was a very sad look."
I, surveying the lion's face and summoning all the imagination I possess, could not see the "look." "Seth, I think it looks fine, and it is going to go to Ethan's domain for the night so stop sniffing."
Scene 2: Rolling on stuffed animals.
The above pictured green snake is the new topic.

As Seth and I are straightening the boys' room, I break the news that Ethan would like to have Seth's snake in his bed for a night.
Now, of all the animals, the huge snake ranks as one of the top, so I know this is going to be an interesting discussion!
"Seth, Ethan wants to sleep with the green snake tonight."
Seth, now gasping in disbelief, is having a hard time believing that I am entertaining the thought of making him part with the snake!
Through the midst of wailing, Seth begins to protest!
I counteract, "Seth, you have around four million creatures in your bed, you will not miss the snake that badly, and you need to learn to share these animals."
Still wailing, Seth replies, "Ethan might roll over on it!"
Stunned, I ask, "He might what?!"
More wailing, "He might roll over on it!"
Sigh. . .He might roll over on it. . .a stuffed animal. . .What a pity! (Add hint of sarcasm! :-)

Scene 3: A squeezed croc.
Due to the benevolence of Aunt Joan, Seth is now the proud owner of ~ this handsome croc!
It was during the OH trip that this little guy made his debut to our family. Seth, as usual, treats him with lots of TLC. Ethan, on the other hand, treats "Croc" like all others - "take 'em or leave 'em."
Of all dastardly things, you won't believe what Ethan did to this furry pal! (At least if you were Seth you would be horrified!)
It happened a week ago today as I was visiting with a friend on her porch. . . I heard some crying from our van and decided to investigate.
Seth was in tears, and Ethan was looking a bit guilty as usual. The terrible deed - you ask?! Through tears, Seth told me, "Ethan squeezed my crocodile!"
In disbelief, I again ask, "He did what?!"
Sobbing, "He squeezed my crocodile!"
Hmmmm. I ended a perfectly nice conversation to discover that a toy had been squeezed!

Sigh. . .Now I think I have heard "everything!" :-)

  posted at 10:43 AM  

Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Ramblings of a recovering traveler. . .
Here is the "nutshell" version of the trip: (Too nauseated to type lots of details.)
1. Left 5/5 after Troy was completely done with BJU duties.
2. Pulled into GBS late - where we spent the first night.
3. Arrived in Dayton on Sunday morn where we attended our "old" church. Had an awesome lunch (Dave made some of that pork which I love!) at Bange's where we lounged with "old" friends. Here is -
the Bange's little girl. Isn't she adorable?! It was also a blast to get reacquainted with -
Camden Manley! (Thought you might like to see this, Janice.)
4. Stayed with the Manleys until Tuesday evening. Had a wonderful time. Seth almost cried when we left. . .
5. Returned to Cincy where we stayed with -

my Grandma Sampson. We had a good time with her between all of our running the city.

6. Visited with family.

7. Joan took us to the aquarium where the boys would - live at the shark petting tank if they could.
They never tire of this activity.
We also fed the birds at the aquarium. I quickly left disgusted after a swooping bird left a trail on me! Ick!
8. More time with family.
Here is a shot of me holding "Earl, the dead cat." (Gene, what was it you said about thinking your own family is normal? :-)

9. Had the privilege of seeing many friends and fellow bloggers. I even got to hold Bryce Ayars.

10. Arrived home on the 11th. There was a big rainbow in SC. . . I think God is telling me to start liking this far, far away land. :-)

  posted at 10:20 AM  

"Bargain Happy" Mama
That's me!!!! I have an aversion to paying retail for anything, so bargains get me hoppin'. Not forgetting my love for Ronald Reagan, my cousin, Les, gave me - - -
these two books while I was in OH. Thanks, Les. I have already been devouring them! (Les is also a "Bargain Mama" and discovered these books at the lovely low price of $2.00.)
Another OH friend, Candy Davis, thought of me while she was visiting a Vera Bradley outlet, and she snatched up - - -

one of my other favorites! Grab your chair - only $13.00 brand new!!!!! (Squealing!) Thanks for thinking of me, Candy!

My latest joy came last night when my neighbor, Kim Russo, and I went to a homeschool consignment sale, and I came home with - - -

this huge bag. It is filled with $243.75 worth of Seth's work for next year, but I only paid $59.00!!!! (I think I floated home last night! :-)

  posted at 9:34 AM  

Monday, May 14, 2007
Of holidays and hugs
My two little buddies and the corsage they bought me to wear.
Seth decided to point at it to make sure it was noticed. :-)
One of the best parts of the day came when Troy and Seth did
every lunch dish
(and a few previous ones I have been too sick to handle),
and I was able to take a Sunday afternoon nap!
Thanks, guys!
I am including one of my favorite poems about motherhood. . .Enjoy.
My home it is my mother, within her heart I live.
Her love is like no other, the sunshine it does give.
And like the spreading branches of a truly fragrant tree,
My mother's heart and arms have made a perfect nest for me.
-Author unknown

  posted at 9:32 AM  

Friday, May 11, 2007
Ramblings of a tired traveler. . .
Big yawn. . . It has been a loooong week. My apologies for not saying adieu. I used every little ounce of energy and unnauseated moments to:
ensure a return to a spotless house! It was worth every bit of it! Now. . .for all of that unpacking and laundry that cluttered the pretty scene. Yawn. . .
The trip to OH went well (except for the fact I despise road trips). :-) Nausea was on an all time low just in time for gas prices to sky rocket (which can cause nausea to return). We had lots of fun with:


and goofy family members. (My two brothers pictured.)
Had time to hit one of OH/KY main attractions (thanks to a kind aunt).
We also ate out more times than I can imagine. (Thanks to many kind relatives for picking up the tab.) It was nice to not have to cook for a week!

We are now back home in this far, far away land, and I have never looked forward to my own dear bed as I am tonight. Have some great stories to tell, pictures to post. . . I spent the last week without Internet, so I am dying to see all of your blogs! My Confederate cell phone quit working in KY, and I have been without that for a week, too. (Suffering from a bit of technology withdrawal.) If you tried to call, I wasn't ignoring anyone - promise.

Big contented sigh. . . The trip is over (Did I mention I dislike road trips? :-). My bed is calling me. Kids need their own beds. We made lots of memories, and that's what counts.

Now I will take my non-sensical mind and let it sleep!

  posted at 10:03 PM  

Friday, May 04, 2007
A riddle explained.
You guessed it!

Here is the "scoop" as I know it:
1. I have been very nauseated. (Did I mention that I get whiny in this condition?! :-)
2. I have not yet been to the doctor because I am too sick to find one right now.
3. It looks like this addition is due late November - early December.
4. I think we are in line for another "prince."
5. Don't think we will find out which it is; I like to be surprised.
6. My friend, Electa, created a perfect word for me - "sneezausea." I love it! :-)
7. Another friend is getting me some stuff that actually kicks the nausea. I tried it, and it works!!!!!!!! (At least my OH trip next week will not be dreadful.)
8. My younger sisters are floating in the clouds.
9. Seth and Ethan are thrilled to pieces. (More details later.)
10. This list is in no real semblance of order, but I have an excuse for everything now! Hee. Hee.
11. Thank you for all the kind words!

  posted at 10:05 AM  

Thursday, May 03, 2007
A tale of. . .nevermind - a riddle

Skip the tales this time; I am giving you a riddle. . .
Think hard! :-)
There was a lady who moved to a far, far away land.
Normally, she was very healthy and energetic.
For weeks, she has been nauseated and sick, sick and nauseated, nauseated and sick. . .
The poor soul lives with a gagging sensation in her throat.
Sometimes the nausea wakes her at night.
This lady doesn't let pop into her home - until recently. It is one of the only things that calms her stomach.
Due to what is causing the nausea, she should be taking her allergy meds sparingly. (That is part of the reason she is always sneezing!)
Sometimes the thought of food, sight of food, smell of food and even the taste of food sickens her.
Her emotions have been a bit out of whack lately.
Her normally clear complexion has sprouted some blemishes.
The lady is gaining a tiny bit of weight.
Did I mention that she is nauseated a lot?!
Sometimes the lady is so sick she feels like crying.
She has a hard time getting anything done now and is very glad she and her son have two days of homeschool left.
More nausea.
Sometimes the nausea leaves her "blogically challenged." It even makes her not want to look at a computer screen.
The lady is living for the day when she wakes up and feels normal again, for she has forgotten what that is like!
Any guesses for the answer? :-)

  posted at 10:56 AM  

Wednesday, May 02, 2007
Just for Carrie
~Self Portrait of a Sneezing Woman~

Here it is, Carrie; just for you. I hope you do not mind my taking the liberty to add a few props - bottle of Zyrtec (allergy medicine), Pepsi (to help settle the stomach) and tissues in hand all ready for the upcoming sneeze! :-)
If you enjoy self portraits, you need to tap on the names and visit -
Carrie herself - I do agree with her husband in the fact that her face is flexible. I tried her expression and quickly came to realize that my face is not! :-)

Angie - The absolutely hilarious porcelain doll!

Last, but not least, Les - my cousin that found herself in a hairy situation.

  posted at 2:55 PM  

Tuesday, May 01, 2007
Only a mother. . .
The longer I am a mother, the more it means to me, and the more I see how wonderful my own mother is. At times, I don't think we comprehend the impact we have on our children and in turn, the world. Think of the ways our own mothers have left an imprint on our lives! What a calling we have - - what a treasure! Until my first son was born, I never realized that I could love or hurt so deeply. . . Never knew what a "She Bear" lurked in me until my children's security was compromised. . . I never imagined that I could be so tired or frustrated at the same time. . . Never thought I'd have a heart filled with so much joy or "warm fuzzies". . . I also never thought about the fact that once I became a mother, I would be one for the rest of my life.
To all my dear friends who are mothers, I hope the holiday in this month is a special one for you. Several times during May, I want to share some of my favorite quotes/sayings surrounding motherhood. I hope they will be as touching to you as they are to me.
When a child is born, a mother is born. And when a mother is born, a unique and powerful love grows from the center of her heart and reaches out, across years and through all obstacles, to shape the life of her child. It's a love that is inspiring, incredible, and invincible. It's a love like no other.
Every mother's story is unique, and every mother's love for her child incomparable. Yet this incredible, invincible love also binds mothers together. We share a devotion that "always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."
A mother is the only person who can divide her love among all her children and each child still have all her love.
A mother is a person who sees that there are only four pieces of pie for five persons and promptly remarks that she's never cared for pie.
To be a mother is the grandest vocation in the world. No one being has a position of such power and influence. She holds in her hands the destiny of nations.
All selections taken from A Love Like No Other by Elisa Morgan

  posted at 1:59 PM  

queen of the castle

Martha C

To all my family and friends, this blog was commenced as a way to keep you informed during my frequent communication lapses. Enjoy reading of our life in this far, far away land called "the South."

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