Managing the “Santa” Question!!






I love potatoe Clause, don’t you?  Oh, it used to be so simple, when all the boys were Daniel’s age or younger.  We bought the gifts, we wrapped the gifts, we barely even hid the gifts, no one asked any questions, and everyone was happy.

Joshua has been finding his gifts since he was four or five years old. I made up excuses (lies) to keep the magic alive. “Oh, that’s just your gift from us. Santa will bring you other stuff.”

We also always use the same wrapping paper. Caleb commented on it this year, “Mom, how come you and Santa always use the same wrapping paper?”

Oh, well, um…

But this year Joshua didn’t just find a gift or two, he found the mother load!!

“Mom, can’t you just go ahead and put all these presents under the tree?”

So we went ahead and put their one big gift and one little gift for each boy under the tree. I’ve bought five total for each boy.



They were so excited. Joshua made this giant present tower. Have you ever seen anyone else do that?

I figured Daniel would get caught peeking, and then they’d see why I can’t put all the presents under the tree. Joshua kept begging me to put them ALL under there. To my surprise, Daniel and Joshua have been supremely well behaved about the whole thing! However, I caught Caleb peeking, and J.D., one afternoon, with NO SHAME whatsoever, ripped open two presents.

Needless, to say, no more presents have been added, and the tower has actually come in handy. The boys pile the small presents, which interest J.D., up at the top where he can’t unwrap them.

It’s all rather ridiculous, because even through alllllll of this confusion, they STILL believe in Santa. Joshua even caught me shopping on Amazon. He’s nine, so I even tried to hint to him, “Well, Joshua, you know you DID find your presents. What do you think that means?”

Joshua got scared, “I’ve been too naughty, and I’m not getting anything!!!???”

(What!???  Not what I meant!!!!)  “Nonono, sweetie, that’s not what I mean at all. I’m saying, Joshua…”

Alan stepped in, “We buy the presents,” he said softly, as he hugged Joshua, “I’m sorry, Buddy.”

Joshua looked at us blankly.

We waited quietly, for it to sink in. We thought maybe he got it.  Nope. Still believes.

The next day, another gift for J.D. arrived. The rain had destroyed the box, exposing it for what it was.  I said, where Joshua could hear me, “I can’t put this under the tree. I’m going to put this in my closet, because this is a Santa present.”

Suddenly, it all clicked, and Joshua full on panicked. “What! Mom!  There’s no Santa? He’s not real? It’s not true!!!!????” where ALLLLL his brothers could hear.

“What!? Sh sh sh sh Joshua, go to the laundry room, and stop saying that, you’re going to scare your brothers!’

I didn’t know what to do. I was weak, and I did not enjoy that scene that I’d just witnessed, so I said, “Joshua, the Santa gifts are arriving here early because we are having Christmas here early, remember? Christmas Eve will be too late.”

It was all too easy. He was very quickly soothed.

OH! But now I have the guilt of a liar. :( Now that he’s nine, it all makes me a little uneasy. The Santa magic has been so fun. I LOVE making a really HUGE, BIG deal out of Christmas. In Bible times, they always had great feasts and parties and exchanged gifts to mark events where God had provided for them. Why should Christmas be any different?

Of course, I don’t suppose they created any fictional characters in all of those Biblical feasts….

Sigh. This is one of the hardest things I’ve faced as a parent yet! Isn’t that silly? I don’t want to crush Joshua!

I figured the myth out by the time I was seven. Santa was a great big deal to us too, but neighbor kids told me he wasn’t real, and when I asked my mom, she just said, “Well, what do you think?” I said, “Well, I mean, I know reindeer can’t fly, and it doesn’t really make any sense.”

Mom said, “No, you’re right. He’s not really real.”  She didn’t make a big deal of it. It was still a shock, though. I quickly said, “But wait, then the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy…”

It’s such a major milestone in a child’s life.

Now I feel so guilty for perpetuating this Santa thing. I don’t want to kill the excitement of Christmas. They DO know the true meaning is all about Jesus’s birth, but still. Killing the fairy tales of childhood seems like a thing I do no want to do, you know?

So what say ye? How did ya’ll handle this?  I’d love to hear your stories.


felt tree

Our classroom tree: a felt tree that Caleb decorated with pretty gifts at the bottom and the ornaments. Joshua did the candy canes. Caleb has a surprising eye for making things look nice.


olaf drawings



Caleb worked hard on this Christmas with Olaf picture. Love it! 2 Olafs. The black rain is supposed to be snow.


another new thing this year: Joshua and Caleb are LOVING wrapping presents. My job keeps getting easier!


Our Christmas present tower cracks me up. Joshua definitely thinks outside the box.

We also couldn’t figure out where to hang the stockings, since we don’t have a fireplace. The boys solved that problem this morning. They hung all four stocking ON the Christmas tree. (pic to come later) Haa!


kids wrapped presents                                                 gift wrap by Caleb :)

I did ask Joshua, “What are you most looking forward to about Christmas?”

He replied, “Jesus’s birthday and the field trip.”

“Huh? What field trip?”

“You know,” he said, as he pointed to the calendar, to the day marked for Alabama.

“Oh!!!  Yeah!”

I’m getting excited too. :)

Now let’s hear your Santa advice!!




An Exciting New Phase of Parenting

Those sweet big brothers! They try really hard!

Alan and I have reached an EXCITING new phase of parenting!

Some of our nights are still hard. Last night, Alan was up until 2 am working on finals. I had to get up in the middle of the night for over an hour with J.D., and then Daniel woke up too, and they both insisted that they were starving….at 3am. I did remember that we had had a hurry-up dinner of leftover chili at 5pm that night. The baby didn’t touch his, and Daniel had barely eaten any of his. After that,  there was the evening Christmas music special at our church, and then they had all eaten cookies at the fellowship afterwards.

Once I finally fed them, they easily returned to sleep. Don’t worry. That is an unusual occurence.

Rough nights are a very common occurence.

That’s why this new and EXCITING phase of parenting is so incredibly special.

Morning dawns, and guess who wakes up early in spite of the interrupted sleep….the little ones….but ALSO….the BIG ones!!  haha! By big ones, I am referring to our seven and nine-year-olds.

As a team, on a rainy morning, they are WONDERFUL. Caleb gets the baby out of bed and closes our door. Joshua gets them all breakfast. They all played nicely downstairs.

I know!!!

Alan and I slept until 8:30.  8:30!!!!

Moms of only young children, hang in there. Don’t listen to the people who tell you it never gets easier. It DOES! They just don’t remember.

You only have to do the all pre-schooler thing once. Even when you have two little ones all over again, it’s not exactly the same because now you have helpers. Last night, I had to be at church early. I’m in the choir. I asked Alan, as I left, “Do you want me to take Joshua and Caleb with me?” I couldn’t take the babies because there’s normally no nursery.

Alan said, “No. No. Leave them here. They can help get them things and keep them out of trouble.”

Around 8:30, JD finally snuck past them and made his way to my bed. The big boys had started a game of Pokemon cards, in the BATHROOM, with the door shut, “so the babies couldn’t mess up the game.” I figured that was okay, after all, they had earned that after their good work.

Daniel came running to me, broken hearted because they had left him out of the game. I went downstairs and appealed to Joshua to deal Daniel in, which he did. Eventually, Caleb and Daniel couldn’t get along, and the game ended. Joshua tried really hard to intervene on Daniel’s behalf though. I’m just so tickled with Joshua this morning.

There are clear parings among our boys. Caleb does best with J.D. because he doesn’t pester the snot out of him by picking him up too much and tickling him, like Joshua does. Joshua does much better with Daniel, because Caleb and Daniel are too close in age and, of all our children, have the hardest time getting along. Is that 3.5 year age gap the worst, or is it just their personalities?? I don’t know, but they are a tough pair to manage!

I’m feeling optimistic today. I need to think of something good to do for these boys for being such great morning helpers!

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”   Luke 2:14

“See it how I see it.”

Do you ever get messed up in how you see things? You work, and you work, and you work, but you are never done, and after awhile the sky seems to be falling, you’ve forgotten to take time for fun, and suddenly all of the joy that should be in your heart is snuffed out like a candle on a birthday cake.

Well, that’s been me for…well, since we moved, I guess. I just keep telling myself that if I just make it through this year, things will get better.

I love my children. I enjoy teaching them. I don’t even mind cooking dinner, but there is one part of this whole stay-at-home, home-schooling, blogger-mom gig that causes me very great stress.


Where the school day ends, the house work begins, and with a house of 6 people, that “career” is enough to keep me busy all by itself. Then there’s the whole question of dinner. I’m out of the habit of making realistic dinner plans, so I’ve been pulling that together at the last minute.

Plus, every where I turn, we have another ant invasion. That’s right, our whole neighborhood has the most insane ant problem I have ever seen in my life. There are lines of them, eating-I can’t-figure out what in all of our bathrooms. With the rain, they have come into our home in record numbers.

Basically, around 3 or 4 everyday, I feel so completely burned out and defeated, that what I truly wish to do is get in my car and just drive until I find a restful place to stop.

The other day, in the depths of feeling as melancholy and hopeless as ever…

(I get that some of you have no idea why I would feel that way. Well, I’d take pictures of my house to explain it, but I’m afraid that would cause me to be judged by others of you, so I will be sharing no such pictures at this time.)

My messy house makes me want to cry. It sucks the energy out of me. People think of me as laid back, but I’m totally not. I’m actually a polite, high pressure, control freak that smiles a lot. There I said it.

Today I had 20 or so things on my mind, I was desperate to get out of the kitchen and escape somehow for a minute, and just as I thought I might go sit on the love seat and pout for just a second…Daniel spilled juice all over himself and the kitchen floor. At that EXACT SAME moment, JD knocked over a BOX of vanilla wafers, which at the bottom of the box, was more crumbs than wafers.

Did I mention that I had JUST swept and mopped the floor, not 30 minutes prior to this incident?

Did you also know that JD is so tall–almost freakishly so–that he can reach the kitchen countertops?

Somehow I didn’t manage to find all the crumbs to sweep up, so the floor is wet and crunchy. Daniel, Caleb, and JD are all taking a bath. That sounds nice, except I’m going to have to summon energy from SOMEWHERE to get them all dressed again.

When I say that I want to cry every single day, that is a gross understatement. I actually do cry most days. I have no idea how to catch up on all of the housekeeping, so I’ve taken to keeping one room of my house completely immaculate. I just started this a week ago.

It makes me feel like I have some sort of control over SOMETHING in my life. What room did I choose? The smallest room in the house: the laundry room. I’ve been working so hard on that room this week. It’s all I have time for! The washer and dryer are crud and dust free. The floor is spotless. The shelves are dusted. Nothing is in that room that doesn’t belong there–well, except for those photos that I haven’t hung yet.  But seriously, when?? When will I hang pictures?

So if you can’t find me……that may be where you will find me. NO, not hanging pictures, but cleaning my laundry room, so that I can feel like I’ve got something under control.

Do you think this is an awful lot of whining about house cleaning? It is! The cleanliness level of my house directly affects my mood–even if that should not be so.

Wednesday, as I was laying flat on my face, crying and whining to God in my prayers about how hard it is to teach these boys, never leave the house, and whoa whoa whoa whoa wheaaa wheaaaa wheaaa wheaaa wheaaaa….. I said, “I should just go get those boys right now, and put them back to work. Lord, what in the world should I do?”

“See them how I see them.”

No, don’t worry, friends, I do not hear the audible voice of God, never have, but I promise that he speaks to my heart.

I went to the boys’ window, and looked down at my three biggest boys, on the trampoline. JD toddled along beside me.

There they were. They each sat on a different side of the trampoline, Indian style. They appeared to be having some sort of meeting.

“Oh, right,” I thought, “They are just darling little children. I’m so thankful they have each other.This time on the trampoline together is good for them.”

I need not destroy the magic of their childhood with my own anxiety problems. Yes, I put too many demands upon myself. That’s not their fault. They are just children. 

So I have a goal, a very important goal. I am going to ENJOY the trip to Alabama this year. I’m not pregnant or breastfeeding, so I have that going for me. Yes, I have to fly with four children, but at least this time Alan gets to go with us.

I’m going to try to enjoy the plane ride and visiting the way that the children do, because normally I don’t, and that makes the trip less fun for everyone else.

Is this phase of homeschooling while also taking care of a toddler and a preschooler the hardest thing I have ever done?  YES. Aboslutely YES. I did home school Joshua in K4 and part of Kindergarten. That is  not the same at all as home schooling three different ages. Joshua and Caleb are so big now, that I don’t want to mess this up.

The really sad thing is that I’m letting all of these  pressures that I put on myself steal my joy. Why? I want everything to be perfect, and that is not an achievable goal.

Who likes perfect people anyway?

I’d better go take the boys out of the bathtub, remind myself to see them how God sees them, and try not to rain on everyone’s Christmas. :)

I feel like I’m giving my Eeyore-self a pep talk!!

“But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.'”            James 4:6



Teaching my “ADD” Son

strategies for teaching ADD


I love how homeschooling has allowed me to cater to the boys’ individual gifts. I want to share with you what we’re doing to meet each boys’ gifts and challenges, so today we will focus on Caleb.

I realize home schooling isn’t for everyone, it isn’t even possible for many, so maybe you can apply some of these tricks to your regular-school-kid too! :)

It never ceases to amaze me how completely different all four of our boys are! I’m still waiting to see how JD will turn out. For now, we just know that he is go-go-go and clingy-clingy-clingy. We also know that he has some sort of sleep disorder that is destroying my outlook on life, but we are not here to talk about that today…

Let’s just focus on school.

Caleb is your classic Billy from Family Circus ‘boy’. He does the stereotypical stuff. He begs us for a pet, he finds snails and brings them to me, he pretends to dislike girls, and he’s always wiggly. Oh, and he loves to take things apart. He can also fix things that I cannot. If I want a chore done quickly and effectively, I call upon Caleb.

Spelling, memorizing facts, and sitting still are his nemesis. His Sunday School teacher recently referred to Caleb as “quiet and shy.”


That’s right. My children have one personality at home and a totally different one at school or Sunday School. I was quiet at school when I was a child too, only I actually am shy, whereas Caleb is definitely NOT shy.

The hard thing about teaching Caleb in the school setting, is that it feels like he isn’t participating. He NEVER answers questions, in a large group, and he talks and sings so quietly that you can’t tell if he is doing so or not. It looks as though he is completely disengaged–not at all like any of the other kids in the class.

As a parent, this is frustrating to watch.

I would love to design a school that caters to little “ADD” kids like Caleb–and guess what! I am doing exactly that this year–here at our own little home school!!  I have TWO ADDish boys, though even the way that ADD is displayed is different in each of them!!

Here is what is helping with Caleb so far:

1. Fidgeting is 100% REQUIRED!!!

If I am going to be teaching something new, or going over memory work, Caleb absolutely HAS to have something in his hands to work on. For example, if Alan is teaching a Bible lesson to the boys, we say, “Caleb, go get your puzzle!!!” Caleb fetches his U.S. puzzle and works on it while Alan teaches. Suddenly he becomes interactive Caleb with questions.

How did I figure this out? Classical Conversations. After the agony of watching my smart little boy act as though he doesn’t know anything all morning, we went outside to paint. Thankfully, it was a laid back painting day. The kids were allowed to use whatever colors they wanted–kind of a big deal for Caleb.

Meanwhile, Caleb’s tutor opened up her science book and started teaching from it. Suddenly, Caleb became interactive Caleb, asking questions, and looking happy.

The key seems to be that Caleb has to be working on something with his hands to pay attention. I totally get this!!  When I was in school, my notebook was always FULL of doodles. I do the same thing in church. Normally, I dislike drawing, but I just have to have something to do with my hands when I am in the school setting.

And what do we typically tell small school children, during instructional time? Everyone clear off your desk, and no fidgeting. HA!!! Perhaps that is best for most kids, I don’t know. I don’t have ‘most kids,’ I just have these kids, and I want to do whatever works to make school easier and more fun for them.

2. Frequent breaks.

Caleb completes a subject, then he has a break–sometimes a drawing break, sometimes a full-jump-on the trampoline recess. With all the rain we are suddenly having, he plays in the garage a lot. I would much rather knock all that school work out at one time, but that leaves Caleb looking like a whiny lump in the floor, so I get about an hour of work out of him at a time.

Caleb’s Basic Day:

Math Worksheet (A Beka 2nd grade)  He is excellent at this–straight As, and he thinks it’s easy.


Notebooking: writing, copy work, etc.

BREAK–Full 20 minutes

Grammar/Phonics/Guided reading  We are really enjoying the A Beka readers now. They are full of sweet stories that almost all have wonderful life lessons. Love. Love. Love. Caleb also grasps grammar rules with swiftness. Phonics has been a struggle, and he’s still improving in reading. Thankfully, he loves Treasure Chest. He recently finished reading Pinnochio in that reader.

Review Memory Work (Science/History/math/grammar)

BREAK  a long one, while I work individually with Joshua

Math Speed Drills


Teacher Reading (where I read one nonfiction science or history story, followed by one fiction story or chapter or two)

Handwriting–Caleb’s favorite subject with Drawing (Most of the lessons in PreScripts include a drawing lesson.

Geography–We have now graduated to actually drawing the maps, rather than just tracing. I can’t tell you how challenging, but fun this is!

Go over whatever else we missed during the day, and then I NEVER let school run past 3pm. Usually we are done by 2:15.

Why does it take me so long, when I only have three students??  Well, let’s not forget this guy:


Our school comes with a TON of built in distractions, but that also makes it more fun.

I am fortunate. Even though we are always at home, the boys still have three friends to play with all the time:




That’s right. Sweet Dan can also do a mean scowl.

Joshua picked out his and J.D.’s clothes, and then they all decided to dress alike. They were a little disappointed that J.D. would not cooperate for group pictures.

When you have big brothers, you learn the back arch fit extra early.






3. Experience Learning: I think with anybody, ADD or no, actually going out and experiencing things is much better for learning than just reading about it.

What did I set out to teach the boys in these photos?

You might guess table manners or ocean life, but that wasn’t really what I was thinking. I set out to teach them about Black Friday. :) Joshua, Caleb, Daniel, and I hit the mall and a restaurant in honor of America’s favorite day to shop. We scored an awesome deal on Daddy’s present.

We also got the bonus of getting to watch the ocean waves while we ate our lunch. Science. :)

experiencing the beauty of California at a local ranch

More science. These are harvester ants. They are all female. They only produce a male when they wish to reproduce. I guess they don’t realize how funny boys are to have around.

Proverbs 6:6-8 (KJV)

Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise:

Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler,

Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.

Did you catch that?? Don’t miss it! Solomon is known for the wisdom God gave him. The Bible is the inspired Word of God. They called EVERYTHING “he” or “him” back then.

What did they call the ant??  HER

Don’t miss that. The Bible is CHOCK-FULL of wisdom that is way before its time.

Isaiah also wrote a verse that showed inspired wisdom about “the circle of the earth”, back when we’re told they thought the earth was flat.

21Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been declared to you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? 22It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.   Isaiah 40:21-22

4. Let’s talk about memorizing. 

Unfortunately, I have not unlocked that padlock for Caleb yet. He does well with the truly catchy songs, the Bible passage, and the things that I have managed to go over a gazillion times, but I want to find a way to make it easier. I have learned ALL of this stuff fairly quickly, without going over it a gazillion times, and I am old. Some of it was completely new to me too: like the Latin….and the specific Appalachian mountain ranges. I would love more memorization tips for my little guy who hates memorizing!!!

I think part of the problem is that he thinks it’s boring, so perhaps what I SHOULD be asking tips for is how to make it more interesting to a 7 year old.

5. Focusing on the GIFTS

In order to keep Caleb happy about school, I have to praise, praise, praise every thing he does well. He leaps up the stairs to come to Handwriting, Art, or Math Speed Drill time because those are things that he has received lots of praise for.  Caleb is so creative. It’s so easy to praise him for his arts and crafts achievements.

Obviously, I need to praise him more on memory work!! I was really impressed today with his excellent Latin translation skills. That was all thanks to how well he learned John 1:1. The boys are currently memorizing John 1:1-7 in Latin. Caleb has already done a pretty good job of memorizing it in English. Caleb was actually able to teach this week’s Latin to Joshua. Now THAT was exciting!

What helped him learn John 1:1-7 so well? I made him copy it during notebooking time. That lets me know that Caleb learns through writing things down, which makes a TON of sense, since he learns through fidgeting!!!

Hmmm…I need to employ more of that!

6. Trampoline Memory Work

This is my next idea!!! Maybe trampoline spelling and trampoline math drills too!!

7. It’s really all about the one-on-one.

ADD kids need one on one attention more than their wired-perfectly-regularly counterparts. That’s where home-schooling is paying off BIG TIME.

You may be tempted to think ADD is not a “real” thing. As a psychology grad-school drop-out, let me assure you that IT IS INDEED A REAL THING. In the old days, they may have just said, “That boy ain’t quite right.” Haaaa!  The thing is now we know why. Our brains don’t all work the same.

Aren’t you glad they don’t?  ;)  I bet some of the greatest creatives of all time were ADD.

8. Teach to the level of the child. 

This is another benefit that I have. Even some public schools do this. Where my children went to school last year, they divided the whole 2nd grade up into spelling classes. Some kids in the second grade were spelling hop, shop, pop. Others were spelling shook, shake, shriek, or whatever. You get the idea.

At the beginning of the year, both boys almost cried while working on material that they were not ready for, and school felt like a battle. As soon as I switched the curriculum to their actual level, they began to learn without tears. This is the best thing I’ve done for them. In the long run, they will actually be better at these subjects, since they took their time, and learned it step by step, rather than feeling lost all year.

Teaching to their level made my life so much easier too. I don’t have to battle them on any of our subjects–other than just “Can we be done now?” Gone are those first few weeks of, “I can’t do this!! It’s just too hard!!!” Okay, occasionally they still say that, but only when they are lazy or in need of a quick break.

I always wondered why home schoolers got that deer in the headlights look when you asked them what grade their kid is in!! It’s because at any given time Child A may be in 4th grade spelling and reading, 5th grade history, geography, and science, mid-2nd grade math, and 3rd grade grammar and handwriting…..but yeah…he’s in 3rd grade.  LOL!!! That’s the awesomeness of the one-on-one.

Anyone else have any good ADD tips?? I know there are plenty of teachers out there that could help us!!!

The results are in!! Thank you for your votes!!!

Just a quick post to let all of you WONDERFUL folks know that you can stop voting now. The results are in and I am……..drum roll please……..

#9 on’s list of the Most Influential Blogs of 2014!!!!

The list will be posted later this month, and I will, of course, be sharing it with ya’ll as soon as it’s posted.

I think it’s like one of those countdown of the year’s most influential blogs kind of deals. Exciting huh???  This is what happens when you blog obsessively, admit things in public that others wouldn’t, and have relatives and friends like my parents, Alan’s parents, Alan’s aunts, my aunts, and several of my friends both old and new, dedicated enough to vote for you every single day!!  I had several friends and readers who let me know they were voting for me too, and it always takes me by surprise.

I don’t really know who reads the blog, unless you tell me that you read it, or you leave a comment. Please know that it makes me ecstatic when someone says, “Oh, I read your blog all the time. I liked what you said about….” Best feeling ever! I may act cool about it on the outside, but on the inside, I’m throwing a “Wahoo! They read my blog!!” party. :)

Meanwhile, most people I’ve met here don’t even know I have a blog, for several reasons:

1. It embarrasses me to admit that I blog. Why? I have no idea.

2. The amount of people that I have spoken more than a few sentences to here is still a very small number. I am still quiet-hermit-in my shell April for now. I’m slowly but surely integrating, though, thanks to a few dedicated souls who simply haven’t let me completely withdraw from society. More on that in my next post!

Moving takes so much time to adjust, apparently more so for some (me) than others!

Well, I won’t go off chasing rabbits tonight. I just wanted to say…..

Thank you!!!!

This is me saying, “Thank you!” while Daniel combs my hair with a pumpkin scooper. :)

“Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”  

Proverbs 13:20

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”       1 John 4:7-8



The Penny, The Coincidence, and 100 Quarters

It just isn’t Christmas unless a virus rips through the family, right?

A week ago, Alan and I were upstairs putting away laundry or something. J.D., who sometimes walks around saying, “J.D. J.D.,” was doing just that.

One-year-olds crack me up. With your first one-year-old, they are never more than two steps away from you. By the time you’re at boy #4, they kind of just wander around the house poking at stuff. Why? Well, if we aren’t interesting, Joshua, Caleb, or Daniel might be, so there are actual options to who they might want to tag along with.

This particular night, J.D. was upstairs with us, and yet still we had an, “Uh-oh” moment.

Alan said, “J.D., what’s in your mouth?”

Gracious. It could be anything.

I ran over to check. “J.D., open up, what’s in your mouth?”

Alan stuck his finger in there. Nothing, “Oh, man, what did you eat?”

“I really hope it was edible,” I said, and the second I said it, we heard from downstairs, “Aaaaa! I just swallowed a penny! But don’t worry! I’m okay, but I’m just freaking out a little bit,” from JOSHUA.


Such high ambitions I had when I became a mother. My number one ambition at this point is simply to keep them all alive.

We rushed downstairs and talked to Joshua.


“Well, it was either swallow it, or choke on it, so I decided I’d better swallow it.”

Makes sense.

“But WHY did you have a penny in your mouth?”

“I don’t know. I just felt like it. Am I going to be okay? I think I need some water.”

Alan did some google-ing, and I notified the media, and by media, I do mean Facebook.

Why? Why do I do this? Why don’t I just text the people that would actually care? I don’t know!!! I don’t know, but I will talk about my over-consumption of Facebook in another post. In this particular instance, I was hoping some of my medical professional Facebook friends would chime in on what I should do about this, and they did not disappoint. See, the book of faces can be quite helpful at times.

So a week went by, and everything was all Christmas lights and candy canes. Oh, I’m just kidding. Candy canes do not enter our house. Can you imagine what that would do to our carpet? Oh, Nonna, you will be happy to know I cleaned up all those spots the week you left. It looks amazing……for now.

I hate carpet, but let’s get back on topic here….so by the end of the week, Joshua came down with a fever and misery. He wouldn’t eat, and he wouldn’t get off the sofa. Joshua “was not made to stand still,” so we always know when he’s sick. Alan feared that it could be the zinc from the penny, something he learned about in his google-ing, so off Joshua and I went to the Emergency Room.

We had to sneak out very stealthily. Daniel has been known to chase parents that try to leave him down our driveway. It will break a heart of stone.

Three hours later, I left the ER, relieved to know that the X-ray proved that the penny was gone, and this was just a virus we were dealing with.

Joshua said, “But I still feel miserable, and they didn’t help me at all.” Poor baby. I gave him the “Viruses have to run their course,” talk that my mom always gave to me. :)

The next day, Daniel had it. J.D. had already had it, and now Alan has it.

Caleb and I are united and standing strong against the evil forces of this fever-headache-misery virus.

But now we know. Now we know what happens when you swallow a penny.

I leave you with this quote from Caleb singing, “Dumb ways to die, dumb ways to die–swallowing a quarter–100 quarters!” See? They did learn something….

The #1 Best Gift You Can Give This Christmas


Christmas is about giving, right? It’s the way we remember what God gave to us: love, forgiveness, Jesus.

I have never lived at the level of poverty that we will be discussing today. However, I have lived in several different financial levels throughout my life. The low point was my college years, when I lived on granola bars and very carefully only too $5.00 cash out from my bank at a time, because that was all I had. If that’s the place you are in, or worse, I am so sorry. Hang in there! I hope better times come around for you. Eventually, things got easier for me.

Nowadays, I live much differently than that. I actually have so much food that it spoils in the refrigerator before I can eat it all. That’s probably how a great portion of us live.

Then there are other areas of the world, like this impoverished area of India:

Wouldn’t you love to be able to DO something to help THESE people?

I began sponsoring a child through Compassion International in 2008. My only daughter. Melwenna. Melwenna lives in the Philippines.  She is 17 this year. Each month we send her family $38.00. That $38.00 pays for her school supplies and food for her family. Then at Christmas and on her birthday, I send extra money. They ask that everyone send $20.00 for those occasions. She ALWAYS uses that money to buy clothing.

I love that Compassion helps her whole family, gives her an education, and shares the love of Jesus with her.

In 2010, Compassion International presented me with the opportunity to be an Advocate. That means that I can work at Compassion events, signing people up with children to sponsor, and I can seek sponsors for these children on my own.

Meeting the other Advocates, while working an event at Howard University, in Washington, D.C. was one of the most encouraging and informative things I did during our years in the district. Some of them had even taken Compassion trips, where they had gotten to meet their sponsored child.

I have never gotten to meet Melwenna. However, we do write each other regularly, and she is a fantastic writer.

This Christmas, I have a job to do as a Compassion Advocate.

I have until December 7th to find this ADORABLE little guy a sponsor. Did you know that when they do these photo shoots, they swap clothes around to make sure the child looks as nice as possible? It’s such a big deal to these families because being sponsored is life-changing.

This is Pasupalati. He is six years old. If you can afford the $38.00 a month, to sponsor this PRECIOUS little soul, please email me or tell me in the comments, and he is yours.  My email is

Won’t you consider giving the gift of love, food, and opportunity to this child today?