Monday, June 19, 2006


Kayla is at church camp and Blake is at the U of I for football camp. So Paul and I have a few days without children. Well, tonight we are running Kayla back into town so she can be in her team picture for softball but then right back to camp she will go. So, without having to worry about farming the kids out to friends, we are off tomorrow for a little 3 day get-away.
We are going to Nashville, Indiana. We have friends who have been there and Paul's parents have also gone for a day or two. It's full of shops and historic homes, I guess and I think some musical acts. We are going to stay at a bed and breakfast and just wander around and relax.

We used to go away without children about every 3 months. Believe it or not, it was easier when the kids were younger. Grandma would stay at our house or we'd send them to one of the grandparents and everyone was happy. When my mom stayed with them they lived on Monical's pizza and Fannie May chocolates. And they got to raid the cupboards and make EVERYTHING for which they found a mix - muffins, cake, mac-n-cheese, jello. Paul's folks would take them to the zoo, McDonald's, all over the place. What's not to love?

Now, though, the kids are so busy and hate to leave their friends. They love their grandparents but they now know that neither grandma nor grandpa hung the moon. It is hard work to get things organized to leave when you have to make sure somebody can take Blake to football or wrestling and Kayla to softball or piano. And also, make sure everyone knows the rules - how far can Kayla ride her bike without us? Whose house can Blake be at through the day? Who can be at our house? And that's all fine. This is the phase of life we're in.

So, it has just seemed easier to skip the preliminary work and stay home. But now, we are so excited to be preparing for a few days away this week. Another thing...the kids aren't asking why we're going somewhere without them. They just seem to know now that we get to go have fun sometimes on our own. They also know that they'd be bored out of their skulls on this trip.
So, for those who are interested, I'll give a review of Nashville, Indiana in a few days.

Sunday, June 18, 2006


I thought the days of my children's births were the most joyous I would experience. And now I know I was wrong. I watched my daughter be baptized today. By her dad. And now I know that the day of my child's REBIRTH is the most joyous I will experience.
As I stood and listened to Paul speak some beautiful words about baptism and about our daughter, and as I watched him first hug her and then lead her into the water, I thought of a photo I keep in the drawer of my night stand. It is just a polaroid taken by an OB nurse minutes after Kayla was born. It is labeled "Baby girl Woolard and Dad." Paul is holding her and looking into her face and it looks like he is talking to her. Thinking of that photo, I realized that Paul held her in the first minutes of her life and now he is lifting her out of the water and holding her in the first minutes of her NEW life.

And now my daughter is my sister.

And I look forward to the journey we will walk together.

Thursday, June 15, 2006


Last year a dove built her nest on our wicker porch chair. At the first sign of the nest, Paul threw it away, but the next day it was back and this time bigger and stronger. So we decided she was here to stay. We went about our lives, coming and going through the front door and that bird stayed still as a statue on her nest - on my wicker chair with the beautiful red floral cushions. We watched through the dining room window as the babies hatched and finally grew feathers. We watched them flutter and heard them chirp when mama was out getting food. Finally we saw them become so round and fat, they literally spilled over the edges of the nest (there were two). Still, at night, or during a storm, their mother would manage to squeeze every bit of fat feathered baby under her and cover every inch. Then we noticed the babies on the porch, and then off the porch in the flower beds, returning at night to the chair to sleep. Till finally one day they never returned. It was about this time last year that she raised her family for us to see. We are hoping she will come again and allow us to enjoy the show.

Also, last year, we bottled fed two orphaned kittens. My mom's cat died when they were 2 weeks old. After being rescued from under her neighbor's house, they were divided up between my sister and me (my mom worked and couldn't feed them all day). One of ours quickly got the name "nibbles" because one of his siblings had nibbled part of his ear off in its desperate search for food without mama. We estimate they were without their mother for about 3 days because that's how long the neighbor said they seemed to be crying an unusual amount. Anyway, we bought baby animal formula and fed them with teeny tiny bottles. I put baby food chicken in the milk and they got the cutest fattest tummies on them. I also taught them how to use the bathroom because the vet said the mother would have done that. So I potty trained those two kittens. They learned to walk with us. I set up the guest bath for them and when we were home, after their feedings, they'd toddle around the house and try to play with our labrador who was afraid of them. When they were tired, they'd go to their little box and fall asleep with the little teddy bear we stuck in there for them. Then I'd close the door and wait for the show to begin again in 2 hours. When they were old enough they went back to my mom's because we already have 2 cats and a dog. But, what a great time Kayla and I had with those tiny fur balls.

Now, we are protecting a nest of bunnies in our yard. Long story short - our dog found the nest and sent the babies scattering. We managed to gather them up, wearing gloves, and return them home. Last night we saw the dog staring into the face of one of the babies, about 3 feet from it. This was after Blake mowed over the nest - I had forgotten to warn him about the bunnies. The bunny was on the outside of her electric fence (on the opposite side of the yard as the nest, which is INSIDE the fence) and the dog was on the inside. Later last night, Paul had to get one of the bunnies out of the dog's mouth. The bunny was completely unharmed. So once again, Paul ran around THREE yards collecting bunnies and returning them to the nest. At one point, I promise, a baby bunny sprung right off his shoe, trying to run from him. Funny though, the first time he picked them up, they squealed horribly. The next time, they didn't make a sound. They just seemed calm and scooted right into their hole when he put them at the opening. But when they did squeal, mama bunny appeared from nowhere following that sound.
Now we monitor the dog, who seems fairly depressed about her missed opportunity, and we go outside througout the day and look in the nest and count six little ears. And we watch from the family room window and see the mother stop by a few times a day.

So, I don't know how I'll do as a mother in the end, but I have managed to raise two doves, two kittens, and.... it looks like 3 bunnies successfully.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


Ever think about the choices we have at the grocery store today.
Blake had eaten some ice cream at a friend's house and wanted me to look for it at the grocery store - birthday cake ice cream. Evidently it is pieces of cake blended into the ice cream. Couldn't find it. So I decided to try to get something else he might like. That's when the pressure began. Now when I was a kid, our ice cream choices were: chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, or "the kind with all 3 flavors" (Neopolitan) or orange sherbet for my mom.
Now, I find myself reading labels like: mocha almond fudge, peanut butter chocolate, bunny tracks, moose tracks, coffee, chunky monkey, chubby hubby, cookies -n- cream, cookie dough, strawberry cheesecake, girl scout cookie flavors, candy bar flavors.....

The same is true of soda. First, when I was a kid everything was a coke. If you ordered an orange crush, you still said you had gone out for a coke. Anyway, the soda choices were: Pepsi, 7up, root beer or orange crush. Oh and fresca for my dad. Real Women drank Tab, I guess. Now, when I buy soda, or cokes, (which is not real often) and I think the kids might like something different, I see: caffeine free diet pepsi (the same for coke) cherry pepsi, coke with lime, Coke Black, diet cherry vanilla dr. Pepper, orange mt. dew, red mt. dew, rasberry diet rite, white grape diet rite, red 7up.....and the pressure is horrible. So I go home with a case of diet pepsi and a case of mt. dew.

When is enough enough?

Monday, June 05, 2006

OK, here's a parenting question.
When your child messes up - kinda big, but not huge - do you punish him based on that one thing or do you use previous similar acts to sway your judgment, therefore making the punishment harsher?
Since the previous acts (one in particular) was HUGE and had HUGE consequences, do we consider that in our punishment because it is a "pattern" of behavior? Or, since this act is not so huge taken by itself, do we punish based on it?
Ok parenting experts, I'm ready for answers. GO!!!

Sunday, June 04, 2006


We pulled up in front of the house and I said "this feels more like coming home than going to my own mother's". And it is coming home. And I need it sometimes.
I visited my Aunt Rena today. I've mentioned her before. And I've mentioned her husband before - the one who was my dad when my father wouldn't be. The only thing that could have made the visit more perfect today was if Ivan was there (well and my son but he's busy with buddies). But Ivan's gone and so is a small piece of my heart. I can't imagine how big a piece is missing from Aunt Rena's heart.
So I sat at Aunt Rena's kitchen table eating store bought chicken salad on wheat bread, using a paper towel as a plate and thought "this is the best sandwich I've had in a long time." Drinking diet coke from a can, I realized it was better than the two meals I had at a restaurant this weekend. I savored every bite. And every word and every laugh.
As we pulled away down the alley where I used to play "kick the can," I told my husband thanks for stopping; now my weekend was complete. And then I thought all the way home of how my relationship with Rena has changed.
I know she held me in her arms when I was an infant. I know she changed my diapers. I know she watched all my school performances. I know she bought me Christmas and birthday gifts all through my childhood. I know she took me to the beach in the summer and to football games in the fall. I know she taught my Sunday school class and, even when my mom didn't go, I walked the block to church alone just to sit in Sunday school and be with Aunt Rena. I know she flew to Arkansas to watch me graduate from College. I know I wanted her husband to walk me down the aisle, but didn't ask because they would never have taken that away from my father. I know she held my children when they were just days old. I know she prayed for me after my two miscarriages.
I know she took care of me when my parents couldn't or wouldn't. I know she came dangerously close to raising me because of my parents' actions. I know she helped my brothers and sisters and me take care of our mother when we couldn't and shouldn't have had to.
And now I feel almost like her equal; although, I will never be as good as her. I sit across from her and munch on chips and drink diet coke and confide in her and listen to her. I share her humor, I sense her loneliness and I feel her pain. And she senses my frustrations and feels my pain. She says I made her day stopping by. She says I have a wonderful family and calls me a dear niece. She says she loves me. Little does she know that one hour in her kitchen feeds my spirit. Little does she know that I leave her home feeling inspired to be more like her, which is ultimately to be more like Jesus. Little does she know that dropping by her house is like coming home even though it was never home.

Friday, June 02, 2006


Did I tell ya'll about the mother's day gift I got from Paul (well, the kids too)?
It's a beautiful red leather purse. From Herrod's. Of London. I love red accessories and he did REALLY GOOD with this.
When he first started traveling to London, I asked for just a little something from Herrod's - so I could have the Herrod's sack and say "oh, this is from Herrod's." He has brought me a coin purse and a bracelet. He doesn't bring me something everytime. As much as he travels, it would be just too expensive for gifts from every trip. But anyway, after this purse, he will not need to bring me anything for quite a while. Unless of course he REALLY wants to.
The purse is so cool. The strap fits on five different ways so you can carry it however you want. And I really like it.
The only thing is; I'm afraid he has (stealing a line from the movie "Toro, Toro, Toro") "awakened a sleeping giant". I love purses. Handbags. Pocketbooks. Whatever you or your grandma want to call them. Tote bags. Book bags.
I now keep noticing other beautiful purses. Handbags. Pocketbooks. And I have WAY TOO MANY. I have been teased mercilessly for the usually large purses I carry. But the teasing stops right quick when I pull something out of there that somebody needs. Tylenol, hand gel, tampon, kleenex, BABY tylenol. Uh huh. Who's laughing now, miss Barbie purse?
So, I saw a really pretty bag today that was 60% off. SIXTY PERCENT. I thought it would be perfect for the pool. But. I hate the pool. Or more specifically I hate to sweat. That is why I have been jumping for joy that Kayla is now old enough to be dropped off at the pool without me and I don't have to sit by the pool all day this summer. So I did not get the bag. Nor did I try to think of other uses for the bag. I simply left the handbag deparment and went to the shoes. Where I bought red sandals to match that great red purse. From Herrods. Of London.