Contents tagged with family

  • Welcome to Orchard!

    family, foster care

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  • If You're Not a Mom You Probably Don't Want to Read This

    As a teenager I remember standing in the doorway of the bathroom holding a sick little sister while my mom mopped up the vomit this sister had just projected across the floor. I was thinking, Oh my gosh, I can’t ever be a mother because I could never in my life clean another person’s vomit. I just couldn’t. I think I would die.

    Twenty years later, and now with six kids of my own, I found myself about to disembark a cruise ship. It was 9:00 a.m. on a sunny Florida morning as the elevator doors opened to a lobby full of people. Without warning, my two year old erupted. The multihued contents of his stomach were suddenly everywhere: cascading in waterfalls down my shirt, beading in my son’s thick lashes, pooling in my sandals.

    My husband and I just stood for a long moment looking at each other. He on the outside of the elevator, Me standing stunned inside holding Jacob as the last remnants of his breakfast (and apparently yesterday’s lunch and dinner) dripped down the glass elevator walls.

    “Bleh.” Jake said, blinking. “Bleh!”

    A wonderful feature of this cruise was that they took care of our luggage for us the night before. So nice and hassle free, as long as you don’t find …


  • 18 Proven Ways to Prolong an Argument with your Spouse

    There are so many tried and true ways to keep an argument going with your spouse. I was shocked the other day to realize that I have yet to read an article on the most effective methodology. Not to worry, the gap has been filled!

    I gathered input and created an itemized list for you. Here are the best eighteen ways to keep those disagreements escalating. Thanks to my many friends and family members for their advice, contributions, and for even giving the occasional demonstration. ;)

    Never, ever begin a discussion with prayer. This could open your heart to your spouse’s perspective and potentially derail your argument before it gets off to a good start.

    In the same vein, never stop an argument to pray. You don’t want your heart to be softened when you’re about to go in for the kill.

    Turn the subject as quickly as possible to your spouse’s major recurring faults and away from the topic at hand.

    Be sure that you are both thoroughly sleep-deprived. Since Ephesians tells us not to let the sun go down on our anger, we must always take this to literally mean never go to sleep angry. Fighting when you are both tired will lower your tolerance and help you to take your disagreement …


  • Was Blind but Now I See, So Clearly

    The doctors believed initially that Baby Jay was blind. We were told to bring him to an ophthalmologist within a month of his hospital discharge. I thought he could see perfectly well and was shocked when the doctors said he could only see color, light, and indistinct shapes. He was six months old.

    Today he got his first pair of glasses. I expected a battle just getting them on his face, never mind keeping them there, instead I got laughter. As soon as we set them on his little nose his eyes widened and he started chortling and pointing at the eyeglasses displayed all around us.

    I took him out into the window filled atrium. He was craning his neck to look up at the skylights, out the windows, down the hallways. He was so interested in the things he was seeing that I had to keep stopping him from bumping into the pillars.

    And then he ran. He has never run before. I thought this was due to physical delays, but maybe he just couldn’t see far enough ahead to feel safe running. He let go of my hand and ran down that hallway, laughing, babbling, and gesturing as so many smiling adults stopped to look on.

    “Thank you, Lord,” I breathed, unsuccessfully blinking back tears. “Thank you.” …


  • 10 Ways Parenting Prepares Me for the Zombie Apocalypse

    Some of my friends are concerned about the pending zombie apocalypse. I've noticed that these are mostly my childless friends.  They might want to take note of the ways that parenting has prepared me for the rise of the undead, because I'm going to have advantages they don't when it comes to the end.

    Eluding Pursuit.  I have experience sprinting into a room under heavy chase and getting the door closed and locked before the pursuers catch me.  Will it be so different when I flee into a locked room to sharpen my zombie killing spears as opposed to simply changing my clothes all by myself? Just as my children figure out that Daddy is downstairs and can help them too, the zombies will head off in search of easier victims.

    Muscle Mass. When your one year old weighs nearly a third what you do, lugging that kid everywhere gives you muscle tone.  Add to that a second baby, an overstocked diaper bag, and two ton strollers and carseats, and you don’t need to work out.  When the zombies come I’ve got the strength to swing my survival pack to my back with ease as I throw my AK-47 to one shoulder while fending off the undead with my machete.  I won’t even break a sweat.

    Olfactory …


  • How to Change a Diaper Like a Kid

    Now, my son didn’t actually write this, but I’m pretty confident these are his thoughts on the matter.

    1.  When your mom asks you to change the baby’s diaper while she loads the groceries in the car be sure to look shocked that she would even suggest it.

    2.  Don’t place the changing pad under the baby; it might contain the mess thereby eliminating steps four through ten.

    3.  Find the smallest seat you can.  The one crammed between the side of the van and the baby’s carseat is usually best.  Seat yourself here and try to lay the baby there, too.

    4.  Open the diaper without first checking how messy it is.  Turn to inform your mom that it is simply disgusting and looks like yellow cottage cheese.   While you are looking away the baby will stick both feet into the loaded the diaper and kick the back of the seat. Do not be concerned. This is normal.

    5.  In the next ten seconds do your best to get the diaper contents on your shirt and pants, the baby’s outfit, the seat where you’re sitting, and the baby’s carseat. If any part of the baby’s legs are still clean, you aren’t doing it correctly.

    6.  Inform your mom of the mess.  While you are looking away the baby will start to pee.  …


  • Ten Reasons to Sit in the Front Row

    When it comes to church, our family used to be solid back row dwellers, so much so that if the back row of the sanctuary wasn’t open, we would lurk uncomfortably in the aisle trying to figure out what to do.

    “Let’s go out to breakfast instead.”

    “Maybe if we stare at them long enough they’ll feel uncomfortable and move somewhere else.  There are plenty of seats up front.”

    “Kids, stand over there and cough a lot.”

    About five years ago we made a decision to move up front so that our kids could better see and follow the service.  It actually has a lot going for it. So, here’s my ten reason countdown on why everyone should sit in the front row:

    10. First lips on the common cup.  Now, I’m not saying how the rest of the congregation feels about us with our six kids getting to the cup first, but I figure we aren’t getting any germs.

    9.  Access to the altar.  My preschool aged daughter can dance out into the aisle and right on up across the stage where she has plenty of room to show off her moves while Daddy chases her back toward our seats with a baby in each arm. This also gives everyone a nice chance to see the striped red snowflake tights that she paired with a hot pink tutu, a …


  • The Case for Siblings

    I have gotten the impression that some people think big families are accidents, as if the parents are a bit simple and just haven’t figured out how these things work, so they didn’t manage to stem the flow of children before it got embarrassing, kind of like when you wait too long to fix your cat and suddenly have ten kittens that need homes.

    My husband and I each come from families with seven children.  There were times as a kid when I was embarrassed to have so many siblings.  I would go through sibling by sibling and try to pick which ones I didn’t want so that our family could be a more normal size.  I always arrived at the same conclusion: that I liked each one and would keep them after all.  When Matt and I were dating we said that we would have two to four children.  We currently have two plus four children, to quote my father, “we figure it’s a good start to a family.”

    It saddens me to see fewer couples choosing to have large families because coming from a big family has been an amazing blessing for me.  My brother and sisters are my best friends.  They are the ones I call when I need to share or laugh and when I can’t handle my grief.  Beside Matt they are the ones who …


  • Champion Homemaker

    Last week I won the Chelsea Homemaker of the Year Award at the Chelsea Fair.  Now, anyone who knows me well knows that public recognition embarrasses the bejeebers out of me.  I hid with a scarlet face behind Baby J, while they bedecked me in a sash and crown and gave me flowers and a plaque.  Then, I was careful not to tell anyone and grateful that no one I knew was at the ceremony.  This worked well until my husband absconded with my computer and Kindle, updated my Facebook status, and refused to return my electronics until he somehow made it so that I can’t delete it.  I will now be changing my password to Mattisarat and putting my icy feet on his belly in the middle of the night for the remainder of his life (which may be short.)

    Soon after I got the phone call to be sure I was at the award ceremony, I walked into the girls’ room and stepped SPLAT! into something cold and squishy, yet curiously crunchy.  On opening the window shade I found that my usually well behaved three year old had made a fish pond in the middle of her bedroom carpet with water and goldfish crackers.  I hopped off to the bathroom on my heels, navigating around laundry piles to rinse my foot.  The irony …


  • How Do I Raise This Child!?

    My youngest son is that child that you know will do amazing things, if only he survives to adulthood.  He is responsible for every gray hair on my head, wrinkle on my face, and my future heart condition.

    He’s the kid who cut his own hair, not once, but seven times!  Who drew a path with blue marker across his grandmother’s entire house --cherry floors, carpet, and tile-- so that I would have a trail to follow to find him.   He’s the one who put dish soap rather than dish detergent in the dishwasher because he wanted to see what would happen –twice.   He’s the boy who put all manner of things --toys, bars of soap, pears-- down the toilet causing my dad and me to become experts at removing and replacing toilets, the boy who, upon getting locked in a sun-room, broke three windows to get out (good-bye $700.00), the boy who regularly loses frogs, salamanders, spiders, and toads inside my house, and who inadvertently  released several mice in my parents’ living room which were never seen again.  The boy who ran away from home to the backyard, packing all of his favorite stuffed animals, but no food, and then tried to start a fire and catch a squirrel with a homemade spear for dinner. …