Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Sunshine Awards

This gorgeous "Sunshine Award" was given to me by Kathleen over at "Life with 4 Boys" . What a wonderful surprise!  Of course something this great needs to be shared so I'm bestowing it on my favorite 12 blogs that bring sunshine to my day. Thanks for all you write, share and comment. The 12 wonderful blogs I will be passing this award on to that are a beautiful ray of Sunshine and helpfulness any day of the week are as follows (in random order):

1.Cleverly Inked
2.Confessions of a Writing Mama
3.Ink Spells
4.Milk and Cookies
5. Book Dreaming
6.Michelle Hodkin
7.Musings of a Palindrome
8.Falen Formulates Fiction
9.The Cappuccino Life
10.The Owl
11.The Chocolate Chip Waffle

The only rules to accepting this award is to post thanking the person who gave it to you and pass it on to 12 other blogs that bring Sunshine into your day!
Monday, June 28, 2010

Hiking & Geocache Hunting

Wow! What a great way to spend the weekend with a bunch of rowdy boys!  We hiked the M in Bozeman for the first time as a family. We took the long loop and it was a gain of 850 feet. Although, I did carry Dakota for the last 1/4 mile to the top and piggy-backed him all the way down it was worth it. This must be the best time of the year to hike it because there were fields and fields of yellow and purple flowers along the way. The views were spectacular and the boys were thrilled when a helicopter few by level with them as they sat on the edge of the M. After that we hiked Bear  Canyon Trail a little ways too. We have never been there and it's a nice, shady walk along the little creek.
And to take it up a notch, we were on a secret mission. Little did the other hikers know, we were hunting for geocache's! Thanks to Jana at Milk and Cookies we looked into "Letterboxing" and also learned about "geocaching".  As soon as we get our stamp made we'll be hunting for the letterboxes, but I already have figured out clues and printed directions for those. Since no stamp is needed for geocaching, we went for it.  Our first attempt to locate with the GPS was on a mountain road near a hiking trail. We parked and walked around, looking along the street edge, around a for-sale post and continued down the open road.  Apparently, those road edges we were pecking around were private property because a neighbor on the opposite side got in her car, drove past us, turned around and came back to ask if we were ok. We must really look suspicious with our minivan and four kids running around! We didn't find it there, but in another location.

      The first geocache find was the most fun because we just couldn't believe we found it. My husband found it first with his GPS, but even with the GPS, he can be standing right next to it and not see it, with it's covering. We traded trinkets and signed the logbook, looking at all the names of previous finders. One man found it with no GPS, another in 6 inches of snow! We are "6Jeepers" if anyone in Bozeman ever finds that name on the log. Our goal is to have the boys leave things for kids and Chris and I to leave things for the adults. It seems as though the guys are getting gipped, so I put in a new flashlight for the next guy to find. We were so thrilled we headed off for the next one and that one was hidden in a great spot too!  The next day we knew the boys' legs needed a rest so we hunted in town. Out of three locations we only found one but it was hidden well. The boys and I are all learning how to follow a GPS while walking and Chris and I are working as a team to choose locations that all of us can get to (not too steep) and I'm the riddle-solver when needed.  In today's economy it can be tough to find new things to do that don't cost a lot. Letterboxing and Geocaching cost only the gas you need to get to a trailhead or in-town park and it's fun for the entire family. Thanks Jana for suggesting this on my last hiking post!  If anyone is interested, I'd love to know what your stamp looks like or your "siggie" for the geocache logs. Here are two links to explain more about them:
Happy Hiking! Happy Hunting!
Sunday, June 27, 2010

Hermie And Friends DVD Review Who's In Charge Anyway?

We watch a lot of Max Lucado's Hermie and Friends movies from the library. I thought I was going to be reviewing a book but missed those three little letters "dvd" in the description. Click to see: Who is in Charge Anyway? You tube This movie was about a pitiful-looking little flea trying to find his worth in the world. The movie gives movie-shorts type examples of his other bug friends' struggles to find their worth also. Throughout the movie, the voice of God reminds each character that he's in charge, he doesn't make mistakes, and he has a purpose for each one of them. The graphics on this dvd were good, but not as grabbing as the usual Pixar cartoon. The message was great and could be used in a situation to lift up a young child who may feel bad about his or her own personality quirks. There were some funny scenes, including bugs freaking out on a boat and a scene where a praying mantis is denying that he has a bug in his mouth trying to escape. I enjoyed those scenes. The overall effect of the movie was distracting though. It skipped around so much that it was easy to forget that the main story was about a flea. Even my 5 year old son commented that it was too many little stories and he couldn't remember the flea. (he's a budding reviewer). I asked if he would watch the movie again on a different day and he said, "yes". So if I had to rate this DVD  on a 5 * scale I'd give it a *** 3 star.  This dvd was provided to me by Booksneeze, who in no way influenced my review. Opinions are entirely my own.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Where oh Where oh Where is Martha?

She's been MIA for MONTHS now! Send out an All Points Bulletin....When I started this blog I opened by discussing life-balance using the example of Mary and Martha in the Bible. Martha was a get-er-done kinda gal, obsessed with the meal preparations, while Mary chose to sit and visit with Jesus. He commended Mary for making the right choice. Mary gained knowlege and relationship with him, while Martha huffed and complained about her laziness. This year I embraced my inner Mary. I took on a team leader role in Kids' Ministry at church, returned to college, continued my night job, stayed connected and involved with my sons' sports and education, learned to blog, and started a bath accessory business. My mind swirld with new experiences, new friends, new passions in life.  However, I reeeealy miss that ol' Martha somedays. I wish she'd make an appearance and return my home to what it once was - filled with the sights and sounds of the whirring of a (working) vacuum, sparkling windows, radiant floors and dust free ceiling fans. Just for a day or two I'd love to wake up with that burst of energy and motivation I used to have to get a shine on everything (when completing the task was fulfilling).  Where's Martha?......I think I've killed her!
Tuesday, June 22, 2010

THE Big Hit.....

....finally, I can let my breath out. My middle son, Dustin has had a long, dry spell getting himself walked every time he's up to bat. He had a couple hits in the beginning of the season, but then just froze up every time he was up to bat. I noticed this happened shortly after a player got hit really hard in the back as he swung. We must have had 25 games or more, including the 5 day tournament. We offered incentives, endless pep-talks and private talks with the coach. He would hit it during practice, but not during the game. Too much pressure, perhaps? We tried to keep quiet during the game, only offering cheers, then zipping it when he was actually ready to swing. Then, to our relief, during the second to the last game he SWUNG!  We didn't care that it didn't connect - it was, well - the mark of the end of his frozen state. We saw a sparkle in his eye that afternoon when he came home in between games and ran out back to hit some more. His dad threw some more to him and he saw that he really could do it. We returned for the final game of the tournament, the one that would determine first or second place for the season and they were up against the Brewers -a team stacked with last year's all-star players. We wondered, would he follow through with a swing or revert to his "walk-me" phase? We got the video camera ready, fingers clenched, held our breath and he swung away! He connected twice with two fouls, but then, "PINK!"  a base hit!YAAAAAAY!! What a way to end the season!  Although the Brewers ended the game in the 4th inning with all their runs, Dustin got a game ball for his excellent outfield performance and a medal for 2nd and we (Chris and I) got the biggest prize of all...the reward of watching the transformation of a boy who likes baseball to a boy who claims it as his own.
Monday, June 21, 2010

Hiking is Fun-E!

If you think it's all about nature and exercise, think again! The prime observation position when hiking with four sons is" bringing up the rear".  For Father's Day, my husband chose for us to go on a short, steep hike on a narrow trail. It was our first hike of the season and it seems to me that the boys are out of practice, or maybe just not used to a narrow trail. I smirked and giggled as I watched my oldest, 12, and my middler, 7, jockey for the highest ranking position right behind Dad. Or should I say on the back of his heels. Dad turned around ever few feet and told them to knock it off. (I was no help, too funny to watch!) There were elbows flying and shoving going on. My 12 year old is twice the size of my 7 year old but he really wanted to walk behind Dad on his special day and wasn't above playing dirty.  On our way back down the mountain, we ended up with a 4-boy-territory-marking-stop. Almost to the car, Dad decides to make an abrupt halt to video tape us all and the boys were still walking so close behind one another they narrowly missed a pile up! We've got footage to prove it - we look like an accordian  - stretch, crunch up, stretch.....I can't wait until next weekend when we hike the "M" on the other mountain. I've got dibs on bringin up the rear again!
Saturday, June 19, 2010

YIPPEEE! WAHOOO!! I just won the Minder Launch Giveaway!

Who wouldn't want a future character named after them? That is so amazingly awesome. Thanks Disgruntled Bear for offering such a great giveaway. I can't wait to read it...and all the other great books you are going to write (esp. the one with the character in it named Leah...or Leah Jo....or Leah Joanna)

  Meet the bear at  And read about Minder and watch the amazing book trailer at .....goosbumps will follow......
Friday, June 18, 2010

It is entirely possible for a memory to exist outside the body...

Mine has two legs and huge milk-chocolate eyes. Mine has an audio function that says, "It's 9 o'clock- remember you were going to make eggs?" I had a discussion with my 7 year old, Wyatt, about remembering to wear socks with his new shoes.  My memory volunteered chiming, "I will help you remember, I'll just say, 'Wyatt, remember you need to wear socks because your shoes will get stinky!'" It's like having a living, breathing sticky-note available at my every whim. As time goes by I rely on it more and more. Like "Ask Cha-Cha" of the text world, but better. This one follows me around offering tidbits that I have forgotten, like reading daily devotions during breakfast, reminders to pray at every meal. Sorry, people, this one's the prototype, it's been in test mode for 5 1/2 years, but you can create one on your own, just log onto and type "birdsandbees" in the search bar.
Thursday, June 17, 2010

Fear of the dental Gestopo?

When driving or riding in a car, I have seen little boys do improper things like peeing in the grass. I've seen bigger boys do it many a time too. Once at a downtown stoplight, a strange man rushed to my car window and started a goofy dance for my entertainment. I saw a man on a street corner in the ghetto doing something he could get arrested for. Yesterday I saw the oddest thing ever - a nice looking man, standing on the street corner....FLOSSING. Not just, "have lettuce stuck in the front" quick clean up. I'm talking elbows up & out-bottom teeth bared-going for it flossing! Albeit, he was standing around the side of the dentist office. I couldn't help but wonder just what his dentist said to him to put the fear of God in him to get those pearly whites free of debris. Has he just come from the nearby Mexican Food restaurant?Has a crush on the hygienist? What kooky thing have you caught in the corner of your eye when you were driving?
Monday, June 14, 2010

How to be Your Son's Hero

Yesterday, I gave my 11 year old his second lesson on using the riding lawnmower.  He was a little uncertain about reaching the brake pedal but did fine the first time so I gave him a pep talk and away he went. About 30 minutes into his mow I was standing on the back step watching him on and off when I heard, "Heeeelp - it won't stop! What do I do?". I saw he was going REALLY fast and standing up trying to steer it towards me for help. I yelled, "Hit the brake!" and he responded, "It won't work - HEEEELP!". I shouted, "Turn the key!" but he just froze and kept steering. I  had an image flash in my mind that he looked like a boy on a wild mustang stung by a bee. I ran along side him, hoping to keep from getting my foot chopped off, and grabbed the gear and popped it into neutral. He stopped and said, "You rescued me!" I suggested he take a break and come back after he calmed down and I had check out out all the functions of the mower to see if it was broken. He said, "No, I think I'm done mowing." I was worried he'd be defeated. I inspected all the gears and brake and reset the throttle that he'd cranked up near max and told him everything was working fine and pointed out that he was on setting 4 for speed when I said to keep it at 3 or less. He just looked at me with this goofy smirk like he knew -  he just knew he had done it to himself. I was really proud of him when he came back 10 minutes later to finish the job. I asked him this morning what he thought of that mower running away with him and he gave me a sheepish grin and said, "You mean my big freak out?"  I remember all too well my "freak-out" moments as a kid. It's so much more fun when you can laugh at with your own kids over theirs!
Friday, June 11, 2010

Ever have a "Book Hangover"?

Have you ever read a book that was so great that you stayed up all night flipping the pages, sweat beading up on your lip, just to get to the end? Did you wake up with a mini headache? Heartache for the characters you invested so many hours of feelings in? Did the characters swirl around in your head all day, giving you occasional twinges in your chest or shortness of breath when you thought of their plight -  distracting you from balancing your checkbook? How long did you wait to pick up another book? Was it a sequel? Or did you reach for something opposit to distract yourself? What book did this for you? What's the cure?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Yesterday started off with the typical morning bickering, followed by the discovery of hot pink ink in the cream colored carpet, followed by my head doing a 360. Middle son, Dustin, was trying to clean it by rubbing it around until it was the size of a frying pan! To make it worse, I had to punish him our first sunny-summer morning where I had nothing but bonding and bliss planned for us. As I've posted before, parenting is a real-life rollercoaster. Fast forward an hour and I'm out on the riding mower and in the corner of my eye see my five year old , Dakota, whizz by on his brothers bike with no training wheels, followed by my oldest, Josh, running beside him with his hand on his back and a huge grin. I quickly turned the mower and stopped just in time to see him whizz by - this time with three barefoot brothers running behind ready to catch him. Proud? Yes! Jealous that it wasn't me running beside? Yes!
Monday, June 7, 2010

Books in a landfill - the HORROR!

Have you ever thrown a book away?  I did - twice! Gasp!  I still feel guilty about it even though the past decade I have cherished the rest of them and collect them like trophies. I would NEVER do it again and quite the opposite, protect them and find the unwanted ones homes the day after I am done with them. I committed the crime before I had a conciousness about the life of a book. I remember buying a paperback one day, reading the first two chapters or so and being disgusted by the way women were portrayed in it - garbage can it went! I just couldn't bear to let another woman read it and knew no man would want it either. Recently, I saw that title mentioned as being a great book.  I've been taking a writing class and  have learned more about how stories often start with the opposite of what they are about to make a point. I remember donating my copy of Gone With the Wind because I couldn't swallow after reading the way the slaves were portrayed in the opening of the story. (I love the story now, but this was when I was trying to read it before seeing the movie). There was one more novel I really hated and with my mind a blur, tossed it because I was moving, overwhelmed with clutter, and didn't have the time to donate it (this was before all the awesome outlets for books came into my life).  Now, I won't even let one ripped up children's paperback get mixed in with the toys that get boxed up when they tire of them. I mend every book they've ever torn. Maybe I learned something from the guilt? How about you? Have you ever committed a crime against a book?
Friday, June 4, 2010

Someone needs to invent a logbook for moms............

I mean, my brother is a truck driver and HE get's a DOT logbook that states that after 9 hours he HAS to shut down. Albeit, he runs nonstop those entire nine, rarely eating or stopping for a bathroom break, but still the law is on his side. He just spent a mandatory 31 hr break with me to keep legal. I'm running on my weekly recurring- two days of 4 1/2 hrs sleep as usual and awaiting me is a must-do project today, a homemade chicken pot pie in the making, a must-see 3hr baseball tournament to attend tonight, and a full day work shift tomorrow, heading up the activity for the kids at church on Sunday and don't have my work schedule for that afternoon yet. I already know what's in store in the next hour when the kids come home from their last day of school - one son needs a ride to a sleepover, one is demanding requesting that I cut his hair because it's on the calendar, one has to get ready for baseball,and the other is just full of cuteness and requests for cups of milk and slices of cheese and I'm not even including the things they will think up that start with, "Mom, will you...". These are all the wonderful parts of my life that I really do love (no sarcasm there). It's just that ....."I'm out of hours, officer. What, I have to park my rig here until I gain enough hours to get down the road or I'll get a ticket, officer?  "Guess I have no choice, kids....logbooks rule!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

5 year old logic....

There's no arguing with their logic- 5 year olds are always right. Just try insisting that your 5 year old put on pants when it's pouring rain outside. (Mind you, it's been 7 months since we had warm weather and it's now a balmy 40).  It played out like this....." It's raining out, you should put on some pants." He replies, "Well, these shorts(ie:swim trunks) are for water and rain is water so they are good"   Score 1 for 5 year old.
Tuesday, June 1, 2010

How to Be an Evil Parent.......

Step 1. Whip up a batch of your "World's Famous Chili".

Step 2. The next morning at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, scold them for farting passing gas at the table!