May 2008


We are getting ready to head west in the morning. I have been doing laundry and packing all day. At this point, if we don’t have it, we don’t need it.

We are going to BC, and will be back in about a week and a half. I doubt if I’ll have a chance to post while we are gone. Here are a few notes from our family for you to think about while we are away:

1. Carter wants to know: do you HAVE to kiss when you get married?

2. Tyson and Colton both passed their Hunter Safety courses, with flying colours. The instructor told Lyndon that she enjoyed the boys, and appreciated their interest and attention during the course. When you homeschool, you don’t get to hear a lot of positive things about your kids, so THANKS Tracey.

3. Lyndon and I have decided to apply to become foster parents. We met with a social worker earlier in the week, and have started the application process. This is something we have talked about doing for a while, but we wanted to wait till our children were a little older, and now they are.

4. Both of our mama cats are pregnant. Perhaps there will be kittens when we return.

5. The boys had their pictures taken yesterday, by Tami Foss from fossfotography. I nagged them all day, and made them change their clothes and brush their hair until they were, quite frankly, a little grumpy. I was worried that they would be unwilling and uncooperative when Tami was here, but they rose to the occassion and posed like pros. I can’t wait to see the pics.

Okay, break over. Time to finish packing and get the kids in bed. See you in a couple of weeks.

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On Saturday my baby, my first born, the one who made me a mom… turned thirteen. My husband and I had talked of wanting to do something significant to mark the event, something symbolic and meaningful. Whatever we did, though, we wanted it to fit our family personality and the personality of our son. You can’t find that in a book.

We are a Saskatchewan prairie family. I wouldn’t say we are rednecks in the extreme sense of the word. Maybe a little pink-around-the-collar. My husband, with his brother and sister, grew up on the prairies– hunting, trapping, riding dirt bikes and horses, hating school, playing hockey, and going to church. My two sisters and I grew up on the prairie– reading, getting good marks in school, skating, playing with friends, and going to church.

My husband and I have three boys. We have homeschooled our children from the beginning of their lives. We had ideals and goals when we began our lives together. We wanted to live a simple life, free (as much as possible) from the expectations of society and the prevalent materialism generated by that society. We also wanted to live free of the expectations of religious christianity. I think we were loosely guided by that “being in the world but not of the world” concept. I know we have not been perfectly successful in creating the family we envisioned. I believe a family grows, just as a child grows. I have been evaluating a lot of things this weekend, the weekend of the birth of a young man in our family. These are some of those things…

1. Flexibility is one of the biggies when it comes to a happy home.

2. Forgiveness = love.

3. Celebrate together.

4. Cry together.

5. Touch death with your children.

6. Keep it simple.

7. Remember where you came from and teach that to your children.

8. Honour your mate’s heritage as much as your own.

9. Take a break once in a while.

10. Keep trying.

Not very profound, I know. But the older I get, the less profound I am. So…

Tyson’s Thirteenth Birthday

Thinking beforehand of Tyson’s birthday, Lyndon knew he wanted to spend some time alone with Tyson. Perhaps a hunting trip? I knew I wanted to play some kind of a role in blessing my child. But we also wanted to keep things fairly simple, free of ceremony for ceremony’s sake, and reproducible to a certain extent. After all, we have two more sons. Here is how it turned out.

Lyndon and Tyson went to Lyndon’s parents’ home on Friday. They planned to borrow a camper from them for our upcoming holiday. I expected them home Friday night, but they were delayed and spent the night at the grandparents’. Saturday morning, the morning of Tyson’s birthday, and… no Tyson. Flexibility.

I spent Saturday morning making Tyson’s birthday cake, remembering his childhood, and praying for him. They got home shortly after lunch and I could finally hug my boy and tell him Happy Birthday. Lyndon took a nap, and then we headed to the city. This is what Tyson wanted to do. He wanted to go to Moose Jaw, eat in a restaurant, and maybe go to a movie. So even though the day was more than half over, we jumped in the car. We did a little shopping, including buying Tyson the digital camera that was his birthday present. We ate in a restaurant, and then went to the theatre where we discovered we had missed the start of the movie by about a half an hour. Flexibility.

It was a beautiful evening and we decided to spend some time at Crescent Park. It was lovely. We walked through the park; the kids fed the swans (interrupted briefly by a narrow escape as a swan rushed out of the water and started attacking the kids’ feet), and Tyson took lots of pictures with his new camera. It couldn’t have been more perfect.

That evening, back at home, Tyson shared with me some of the things his dad had talked to him about– about what it meant to be a man. I cried, of course.

Sunday morning, before church, Lyndon gave Tyson a new, adult-sized compound bow. Together they outfitted it with sights, arrow rest, and quiver. They shot arrows at the bales, and Tyson was impressed with his dad’s accuracy. I am thankful that he has a father like Lyndon to measure himself against, not just in target shooting, but in life.

My final contribution was on Sunday evening. I wrote my blessing for my son on a card, and read it to him before he went to bed. This is what I wrote:

Tyson,

You are, and always will be, my precious first born son. Now you are a young man, with the promise of your life ahead of you. I pray that God will bless you in your life– with love and good work, and enough challenges to make you strong and humble.

I am so proud of the young man that you are. And I am looking forward to seeing the man you will become.

I pray that you will always love and honour your Father God, that Jesus will be your close friend, and that the Holy Spirit will be you guide.

I love you.

He hugged me and said, simply, “Thanks, Mom. That was really nice. This has been the best birtday ever”

And that was our weekend. Not profound. Not much ceremony. But something that fit the personality of our family, honoured our son, and marked the significance of this birthday in his life. I will treasure the memory in my heart always.

Today we put the books aside and spent time cleaning the house. The boys helped and we got a lot done, including some of those grimy jobs, like scrubbing the garbage can. It’s amazing, the sense of satisfaction that comes from knowing you have a spotless garbage can!

We went to the pool tonight. A little guy puked in the shallow end, so everyone had to get out and sit in the paddling pool for awhile while they treated the other pool. I was glad that I had decided not to swim. There are not many things less fun than sitting in a small paddling pool with a bunch of disgruntled kids that want to be swimming and diving. Carter’s bright yellow swimming trunks are rapidly fading to a dull, yellow colour. That chlorine is brutal.

Lyndon is still not home. He was going to stop and see his mom and dad on the way. His mom must have fed him. Lucky guy. I don’t know how our house painting plans will go for the weekend. We are supposed to be getting a lot of wind. The garbage is piling up as it has been too windy lately to burn it.

Colton lost another fish today, his sucker fish. We are starting to suspect that his big catfish might be killing the other fish. We hate to accuse the catfish without proof, though. So far there have not been any witnesses to foul play. (Not any that are verbal, anyway.)

Lyndon just walked in the door. I hope the kids are asleep, or they’ll be up for another hour.

I had a story published in an online literary magazine called A Fly in Amber. It’s a young adult story called Bliss. Feel free to check it out at aflyinamber.net.

Yesterday, Colton puked every half hour from 5:00 am to 5:00 pm. It was brutal. The poor guy was about done in by the end of the day. So far no one else seems to have come down with it.

This afternoon we went swimming. We were the only ones in the pool for most of the time. It is amazing to me that the pool is not used more. I did laps while the kids played. I took the kids for pizza after, and they rented a movie. So, they are watching Dinotopia. It is a long movie; it must have been a tv series or something. Anyway, they can keep it for three days. It looks kind of interesting.

Here is a bit of useless information for you. We have been watching Season 7 of the Cosby Show, and I noticed that Cliff (Bill Cosby) always wears a pin with the initials SD on it. I was curious, so I googled it and discovered the SD is for Sammy Davis Junior, who apparently gave the pin to Mr. Cosby. He wears it in every scene, even on his pj’s. Must be special.

Lyndon comes home tomorrow night.

My goodness, this is a mundane post. I guess it has been a mundane week. I can’t think of anything else that would be remotely interesting for someone to read. Sorry, I’ve got nuthin’.

I think I am experiencing Post Mother’s Day Stress Syndrome, the main symptom of which is the knowledge that I am not the mom in the Mother’s Day sermon! Yesterday, our preacher gave a traditional address, full of the things we say about mothers on their day. Some of the adjectives were: selfless, giving, always thinking of others first, providing for the family, tireless, patient… I wish I was that mom. Sometimes I am. But often, sadly, I’m not. I do know that I thank God every day for blessing me with my three boys. And I pray that I will be the mother they need, and also that He will fill in the gaps left by my inadequacies.

Today was a rather dreary, overcast day. Lyndon left at 4:30 this morning, and I couldn’t go to sleep after he left. So, it was an early Monday morning. I enjoy having the house to myself for awhile before the boys wake up. I like having a quiet cup of coffe before things get busy. The drizzly weather made me feel like having a different kind of a day. So, after breakfast, we all curled up on the couch and watched some of our Canadian History dvd. (We are working our way through the CBC series called Canada: A People’s History.) We learned of the sad end of the amazing explorer David Thompson, who travelled Canada from coast to coast and was the first to map the Canadian west, but who died poor and without recognition for his contributions. It was a nice way to spend the morning. We did some Math and English, and worked on our Spanish. Tyson worked on the story he is writing, and Colton and Carter drew pictures. We didn’t even go swimming tonight, but rather stayed home and watched some of the new Cosby Show dvd that we picked up in the city last week.

Tonight, while we were sitting on the couch together, Carter asked me if I had ever had moonshine. Um, no, I said. Then he wanted to know what kinds of alcohol I have tasted. So I said I had tasted wine and beer mainly, and a few other things. Then he wanted to know if I had ever had whiskey. Um, no, I said. So we had the drinking talk again, the one where I say that when they get older they will have to make their own decisions about whether or not to drink, but that I hope they will choose to leave it alone. They know how I feel, and that I think alcohol does so much harm and so little good. But I also know that in time they will each have to deal with the things the world offers them. I pray they will stay close to God as they grow and become independent.

We had a busy day. It was potluck after church, and then we took the boys to the swimming pool. And then, we went to the Chinese restaurant for the smorg. So, we just got home and everyone is settled in the school room with me. The boys are watching Nacho Libre. Nacho Libre is another example of the difference between men and women. The guys have watched this movie about ten times since Lyndon brought it home a few days ago. They know most of the lines and repeat them, complete with cheesy Spanish accent, several times a day. Lyndon laughs just talking about the movie. I, on the other hand, have watched some of the movie, and while I see the humour, I don’t want to watch it over and over and over…

Lyndon is still here. He is going to leave early in the morning. After this week, he is on holiday for two weeks.

At church today, Wendell asked the kids what they would buy for their mothers if they had lots of money. Carter would buy me a garden full of flowers, and Colton would buy me a large screen plasma tv! Lucky me. The kids made Mother’s Day cards in Sunday School. They are very cute.

My big exciting news is that on Friday we went to Moose Jaw and I bought a new camera. It is so nice; I can’t wait to try it out. I have spent a little time with it just using the auto feature, but I am anxious to try some of the special features. I had been saving up for one, and I wanted to get it before Tyson’s birthday. My baby is turning thirteen on Saturday. Lyndon and I want to do something special for him. Something significant to mark his transition out of childhood. It really does not seem possible that he is almost a teenager.

Yesterday, I drove into town by myself, just to pick up the mail and to get a few groceries. The boys were doing school work at home, and I was only gone for about a half an hour. When I got back, I just sat in the truck for awhile. I listened to the radio, and soaked in the warmth of the sun coming through the truck’s windows. It was heavenly. After about five minutes, Tyson came out to the truck with his Math book. He had a question so he climbed in the passenger seat. Next, Carter came out with the dog. They settled into the back seat. Then Colton came out to see where everyone had gone, and he too crawled in the back seat with his literature book. Sigh… I’ll never be alone again! It was kind of nice in a way, though. Everyone was in their own world, doing their own thing, in the truck together. It reminded me of car trips when I was a kid. It felt nice to have the whole family together, each of us reading or sleeping or whatever, but together.

Tonight, as we were driving home from the swimming pool, Colton commented on the evening. It’s my favourite time of the day, he said. He said he liked seeing all the houses with their lights on. It made him feel cozy. Tyson said that when he started having dates, he was just going to drive around in the evening with the girl because everything looks so nice. (Where did that come from?) Carter just wanted to know if he could eat marshmallows when we got home.

Lyndon just got home. He looks tired. He’s going to have a shower. Good thing I went and got water this afternoon.

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