Saturday, December 22, 2007


Found this great article on parenting.

What they say makes sense. Note that the article was written back in 1996. How much better are we 11 years later? I'd say, not much. Seems like Americans in general are getting worse. Maybe we're more sensitive to it now, but hubby and I have noticed a huge increase in commercials, print ads, and just general statements about "getting away from the kids" and "spending time alone". Whatever happened to the idea that children are a blessing? We get more joy from time spent with our children as a family than we do from any other activity. Granted, there needs to be a balance. Children need time to be children just like adults need time to be adults. But something needs to change in our society. We're raising a bunch of grown up children. You know who they are. Think about it. In our society, debt is increasing, divorce is increasing, job changes are increasing, bankruptcy is increasing, people buy new cars every 2 years. So Americans have successfully raised another generation that views responsibility as what we owe ourselves. Hard work has become an old-fashioned notion. Delayed gratification? No way! So how do we fix it? By being the best example we can be to our children. Will it solve the problem tomorrow? Nope. Will it change the world? Yep. One day at a time.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Cute quotes from Maddie

"Do it like you think it how."
- As she tried to tell Zach which song and what signs they needed to do to perform for the rest of us.

"My nose is all snuffily."
- Pretty self explanatory.

P.S. No, we didn't get a kitten. The photo was taken in May when we were visiting a farm.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Music, health and an ultrasound

For your listening pleasure:

I love Christmas songs!

On another note - Maddie is feeling much better, a few sniffles and sneezes and that's all. I came down with a cold yesterday morning. Made it to church, but shortly after we came home I felt like my head was going to implode. I'm a little better today, still very stuffy and sneezy (stuffy, is that the name of a dwarf? it should be). Josh is starting to feel like he's catching something. We're downing vitamin C like crazy!

Went to our ultrasound this morning. The baby looks great! Heart beating, brain growing, all systems go, kicking, punching, wiggling little baby! We were able to count 5 fingers on each hand, and 5 toes on one foot, we couldn't see the other one clearly. The technicians said they could tell whether its a boy or girl, but we couldn't. They zoomed over THAT area pretty quickly because we said we didn't want to know, but now Tom's going nuts. He had me call to see if they'd tell us what it is, but I got voicemail and haven't heard back yet. Oh well. Well find out for certain when its born!

One more note - when we were looking at the ultrasound, the technicians explained to Zach and Maddie that the black area was the fluid or water that the baby is floating in. Zach looked at the screen for a minute and asked, "Does the baby have goggles to see in all the water?" Too cute.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Good start, strange middle, beautiful finish

Yesterday was interesting.

Zach, Maddie and I were able to get school done by lunch. Kate slept late (till lunch) as it was the first week day she didn't have a class since August. Josh had fun getting the fire going and cutting up pallets to burn (gotta love free firewood).

At lunchtime, though, things kind of fell apart. I gave everyone our lunch options to get their orders (yes, sometimes I feel like a short order cook). Everything was fine until I asked Maddie what she wanted. She started to cry. Hmmm. Unusual. Then she said she only wanted a little yogurt. Hmmm. Why? Turns out her throat was sore. She'd been sniffling the day before, but I didn't think much of it. She ate her lunch completely wrapped in a blanket with her head on the table most of the time. After she finished she wanted to snuggle, so we sat on the sofa and I bundled her into a couple of blankets. She slept on and off (mostly on) for hours. Definitely had a fever. Definitely didn't feel well. When she woke up at one point in the evening she went to use the bathroom and change into warm pj's. Tom went to check on her and he found her sobbing in the bathroom. Why? Not really sure. The effort of trying to change was too much for her. He helped her change, put her back on the sofa, and she fell back asleep for a couple more hours. Whatever it was, the sleep seemed to help. She's a little pale this morning, but otherwise ok.

The evening was spent with everyone home (yes, EVERYONE). Josh and Kate brought out their guitars and played around a little. Josh taught Tom a simple rhythm on the guitar. Kate talked me into trying to play a violin duet with her. Maddie rested next to us, and Zach played with magnetix. The fire was burning in the background and it was a simply beautiful evening. Yes, we are definitely blessed.

Putting the kids to bed - as Zach was falling asleep, he opened his eyes and looked at me and asked, "Do angels have birthdays?" I love the questions they ask.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The news is out

Well, finally, the family knows. Mom's known for a while. I told my dad and brother a couple of days ago, and last night I called my grandparents. Its not a secret anymore! What is it? Oh, only that we're having a baby. May 3 is the estimated date of arrival. Of course, everyone knows that babies don't have a calendar hanging next to them, so our little one will come whenever he or she is ready.

The reactions were great!
Mom - "How?" (gee, after 2 of her own children, I thought she knew that.)
Dad - "Your kidding. Why? Well, if that's what will make you happy..."
Grandmom M. - "Oh! But you already have so much to do! Do you know what you should call it? Quits!" =) (she's too much!)
Grandpop M. - "As long as you're both healthy."
Grandmom K. - "A What? A Baby? Who's having a baby? You? Get out! How wonderful!" (Please note, she is NOT hard of hearing, just happily, well, shocked.) When I asked her during our conversation if she had any regrets in her nearly 84 years, she said, "Yes, I wish I had more than 2 children." She laughed so much during our conversation she said she was gonna pee her pants. See, babies bring joy. At least, I think she was happy, she may have been laughing at me instead of with me. =)

So there you have it. Some think we're crazy, some are concerned, some are thrilled to the point of laughter. Doesn't matter. We're excited. Five children. Who would've thought.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Yard Sales and Birthdays

Had problems signing in, so I couldn't update, but not much has been going on here.

We had our GIANT yard sale Labor Day weekend. We got rid of lots of stuff! The remainder went to Goodwill, except a couple of things that I'll ebay. Its so nice having all that stuff gone, but it seems like our house is still full. I need to do another decluttering pass soon.

School is going well. Zach and Maddie are using a new curriculum this year. So far so good, but I need to buy a new printer to accomodate all the books we need to print. Laser printers are much more cost effective, so I'll be ordering one soon. Josh really enjoys the co-op classes. I think he enjoys the time with friends more than the classes, but that's ok. I need to find a program to start getting him prepared for SAT's.

Kate's enjoying her new car. I'm enjoying her new car. She's working a ton and going to school, so we don't get to see her very much these days. We really miss having the whole family together for supper.

Birthdays were fun. We celebrated both Josh and Kate's this past Sunday (the only day everyone was home together). Chips, soda, ice cream cake and tacos. YUM! Josh loved his guitar. Kate loved having her car paid for. Debt free is a beautiful thing. 2000 Chevy Cavalier - paid in full. God is good.

The day is winding to a close. Maddie's taking a bath with her baby Belle doll. Josh is playing the guitar. Tom's installing a new breaker for his shop with Zach's help. Kate's working. I'm going to trace a new shirt pattern out. Haven't decided what fabric I'll use to make it - something from my stash or something new. We'll see.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Today's (non) events

Couldn't sleep last night - Zach woke me up around 2:30 when he crawled into bed with us, and I just couldn't get back to sleep after that (thanks Zach :) ). So I did some cross stitch, did some internet searching, and finally fell asleep around 5:45 am. As much as I really hate not being able to sleep at night, our home is so very peaceful in the wee hours of the morning. It's nice to be able to enjoy them sometimes.

Katie started her classes this morning. So far so good - she likes all her teachers, and other than one inappropriate writing assignment, the classes look like she'll enjoy them. We went out car shopping with her today. Didn't find anything definite, but it's always fun to test drive a car and negotiate, even when you know they won't take your price.

Josh and I cleaned out the attic this morning. We have MORE stuff to sell at our yard sale. Gosh, how does one family collect so much? My goal is to get rid of anything we don't use. I think I have a long way to go.

So, I really didn't accomplish very much today. But it was a good day.


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

My Morning

School has officially started for Josh. Zach and Maddie are impatiently waiting for Friday - they get to take classes at our homeschool co-op. Katie starts on Monday.

So, this morning I was up at 4:00 am. Zach wasn't feeling well and he crawled into bed with us. Out of bed at 7:00, shower, etc. Take Kate to work at 7:30, run into Target to pick up some last minute school supplies for Josh, drive home, get little kids dressed, fed, ready for the day, sew Josh's jeans that he wanted to wear today and were ripped along a seam (he told me last night at about 9:30), make up his daily schedule draft to take to chemistry class as proof that he has time in his schedule to do the work he's going to need to do, drive back into town for dr. appointment (the fun annual physical, blood work, etc. woohoo), hit Big Lots for a magnifying glass set that Josh needs for today that no one else in Texas seems to carry, drive home, call Josh on the way and tell him to be ready to go because there's lots of construction, come home, inhale a rice cake with peanut butter, make one for Josh because he "forgot" to get lunch, get everyone into the van, drive back into town taking the long way because construction is really slowing everyone down, get to enrichment 2 minutes late, but still early (class starts at 12:00, everyone must arrive at the building by 11:50 so as to still have time to get to class), turn around, drive home, get lunch for the littler kids, find the daily schedule draft that I wrote for Josh on the counter because he didn't put it into his bag when I told him to, do the dishes from breakfast and lunch, check email and that brings me to now. Just a typical day in the Blanchard home.

I must say, there is an odd sense of beauty in the busyness of daily life. At least I know I accomplished something today.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

What the World Eats

Here's a link to a great photo article. What a big difference between industrialized countries and non-industrialized.
What the World Eats

Here's what this tells me. We American's are fat and spoiled. We eat a ton of processed and prepared foods. We eat lots of white flour products, lots of sugar, and very little fruits and vegetables, then we complain that we're overweight and have no energy. I don't know much about most of the countries listed, but you can really tell which ones are prospering and which aren't. We also spend a HUGE amount of money on food. I personally don't really know how to spend less than I currently do and still eat relatively healthy. I can spend less and eat lots of carbs, but fruit and vegies seem to be our personal budget killers, and meat is even more expensive! I think I'm going to start looking for cookbooks published in the 30's and 40's. The people who lived during the depression knew how to stretch their food dollar.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

What I know for sure

Wow, I haven't posted in a while. It's not that I don't have anything to say, God knows I have LOTS to say. I just don't know how to say all the things that run through my head. The summer is nearing an end for us, and I need to start getting my mind back into "homeschooling mode". Zach and Maddie are out playing with friends, Josh is playing the guitar, Kate's at school, Tom's taking a nice long soak in the tub - he deserves it, he works so hard.

I'm enjoying a moment of peace, contemplating the future both near and far. This is what I know for sure:

My husband is the perfect match for me
My children are amazing
Life is too complicated, but we're the ones who make it that way
Paying a mortgage stinks!
Homeowner's associations stink!
I want to live on more land than a 50'X 120' lot
I LOVE fabric
I love fresh garden produce
I don't sew enough
I wish I had my degree
Clutter is distracting
T.V. is a waste of time
The government is out of control
Friends are priceless

Hmmm, maybe I don't know as much as I thought I did.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Our Next Home

My son found this amazing website. A low impact home built by the owners and "help from passers by".

Imagine - No mortgage. No utility bills. No traffic. Just living. I think you have to have an amazing garden if you live there. Its a requirement. You also have to bake bread every day. I'd have to have power to run my sewing machine, but then again, when you live in a house like this you stitch everything by hand. Or you cut out the patterns, and at night while you're sleeping, little fairies come into your home and stitch everything together for you.....

Now to find the land to build it on.

Check out the website here.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Its a Boy!

I'm an aunt again. My brother Bob and his girlfriend Rachel just had their baby. He was born Saturday morning around 1:00 am by c-section. Bob said the umbilical cord was wrapped around his waist and it was holding him in like a seatbelt. The new baby is 20 3/4 inces long and weighs 7 lbs. 12 oz. He doesn't have a name yet, but Bob promises to email everyone once they decide on one. What a beautiful baby. I can't wait to hold him!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Supreme Court Recognizes Homeschooling

"For the first time, homeschooling has been recognized as a viable educational alternative," writes J. Michael Smith.

A case which recently went to the U.S. Supreme Court, Morse v. Frederick, involved whether or not a public school can limit freedom of speech. The case was decided 5-4, saying that the school principal did not violate the rights of a student when she removed a banner of his that advocated illegal drug use.

In his opinion of the case, Justice Clarence Thomas stated, “If parents do not like the rules imposed by those schools, they can seek redress in school boards or legislatures; they can send their children to private schools or home school them; or they can simply move.”

So, the good news, is that homeschooling is finally recognized by the Supreme Court. The bad news is that public schools have ultimate authority over our children if they attend the school.

Read the Washington Times article here.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Which Jane Austen Character are You?

You are Elinor Dashwood of Sense & Sensibility! You are practical, circumspect, and discreet. Though you are tremendously sensible and allow your head to rule, you have a deep, emotional side that few people often see.

I am Elinor Dashwood!

Take the Quiz here!

When I changed an answer that could go either way, I became Elizabeth Bennett. Not so sure about that one. I'm not tremendously attractive, and sometimes I AM the sea of silliness. I am rather judgemental though, so perhaps it is correct.

You are Elizabeth Bennet of Pride & Prejudice! You are intelligent, witty, and tremendously attractive. You have a good head on your shoulders, and oftentimes find yourself the lone beacon of reason in a sea of silliness. You take great pleasure in many things. You are proficient in nearly all of them, though you will never own it. Lest you seem too perfect, you have a tendency toward prejudgement that serves you very ill indeed.

I am Elizabeth Bennet!

Take the Quiz here!

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Uncle Sam Wants Your Children

The Maryland State Board has ruled to allow a curriculum in middle and high schools that will teach children that homosexuality is perfectly ok. The curriculum will also teach children the correct way use a condom. Great. Just what our kids should be learning in school. I guess since they are failing at teaching kids how to read and do math, they've decided to teach our kids more about sex. They've been doing that for a while, and just look how successful they are! The teenage pregancy rate is doing very well. STD's are also doing very well. So finally, the state schools have found something they are good at - corrupting our children.

If parents don't want their children taught this curriculum, well, too bad. The state board wrote, although a parent does have a right to control the upbringing of a child, "that right is not absolute. It must bend to the State's duty to educate its citizens". Nice. Since when is it the State's "duty" to corrupt my children or indoctrinate them with ideas that are not ours?

Read the full article here.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Why Do Americans Get Married?

According to a survey completed by Pew Research, Americans have changed their opinion on what determines a successful marriage. Once upon a time, the reason for marriage was to bear and raise children. Now, by a margin of 3 to 1, the reason for marriage is for mutual happiness and fulfillment over having children. So we've gone from roles of responsibility, sacrifice and adulthood, to "What will make me happy right now?" No wonder the divorce rate is so high! If you wake up one morning and don't "feel" happy, its time to check out and find someone new to provide for you happiness and fulmillment.

In the survey, 62% of respondents said sharing household chores was an important determining factor for a successful marriage. Why not just hire a maid or a handyman service? Why do you need to get married to share chores? Back in 1990, 65% of people surveyed thought children were very important to a good marriage. Now only 41% say children are important. Of course, in this day and age, you can also pay for services to become pregnant or add to your family - IVF, Egg donors, surrigate parenting, adoption, etc. And you don't have to be married. Don't get me wrong, I think the technology we have to allow infertile couples a chance to have a baby is wonderful. And I think adoption is a great way to become a parent whether you can have biological children or not. BUT. I still think (call me old-fashioned), that children should be raised in a home with two parents of the opposite sex who are committed to a lifelong relationship. Its called marriage. Till death do we part.

We, as a society, have a long way to go to return to the things that made our country great.

Read the article here:
Marriage Survey

Friday, June 29, 2007

Rag Curler Result

Yesterday I thought it would be fun to try curling Maddie's hair with rag curlers. You know, the old fashioned curling iron that doesn't damage your hair. Well, this is what she looked like with her hair in rags. Kind of cute, I think.

Here's after from the back. What beautiful ringlets! Of course it helps that her hair has natural curl anyway.

Now if I could find a way to curl my own hair that way without my husband seeing the "before".....

Thursday, June 28, 2007

What Flower are you?

I am a

What Flower
Are You?

I am a

What Flower
Are You?

So, I just took this fun quiz to see what flower I am. I had a couple of answers that could go either way, so I'm both a Canna - ""You stand up for what you believe in, even if it gets in the way of what other people think. You are proud of yourself and your accomplishments and you enjoy letting people know that.", and a Snapdragon, but I forgot to copy what it said about Snapdragons, and when I changed the answers back to my original ones it still came up as a Canna. So I guess that's what I am.

Today I'm experimenting with rag curlers on Maddie's hair. She has such beautiful hair that I thought it would be fun to try. I'll try to post pictures of how it turns out.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Its raining. Again. I need to check my address, 'cause I thought we lived in Texas now, and I'm beginning to think maybe not. Perhaps we're still in Maine and this has just been a really bad dream. I'll wake up soon, and we'll be in Maine, with friends, my kids will all be happy, my husband won't be, but maybe the dream state will continue and he'd like it there. Hmmm. What is God's lesson in this?

Josh is in Colorado at Scout camp for a week. I miss him. A lot. Just as soon as Katie came home, Josh left. I want all my children to be home. I want all my children to WANT to be home. Oh well, they grow up and move on. At least I still have a few years with Zach and Maddie.

Did I mention that its raining? Again.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Does a fish know its wet?

Why is it so easy to see what other people should do or shouldn't do, and it is SO hard to see that clearly in your own life? Its so easy to tell others (or at least think about telling others), "Just watch what you eat", "Get organized", "Clean your house and stop coming up with excuses", "Go back to school", "Get a better job", etc., etc., etc. So who tells us these things? And if someone did, would you really listen? It's so easy to just get angry, get offended and start listing back all the things THEY should do. How do you look at your own life and really see it? How do you look at your personality from the outside - you know, the way others really see you, not they way you hope you come across? I'm not sure its possible. When you are so immersed in something, you stop seeing it objectively. You start taking on characteristics of whatever is around you, and you don't even realize it.

So, does a fish know its wet?

Friday, June 15, 2007


So after a "leave of blog absence" for almost 2 months, I suppose I should have something to write about.

We went "up North" for a quick whirlwind trip to visit family. 4 days in Spencerport, NY, 3 days in Wellsboro, PA, and 2 days in Bear, DE. Plus 1 1/2 days of driving and time at the airport. Oh, What Fun!

So back to the daily grind. Kate's in England and will be returning on Monday, the 18th. Zach turns 8 on the 19th, Josh leaves for a week of summer camp in Colorado on Thursday, and then before we know it, July will be here.

Adoption is currently on hold - it's rather expensive for anyone who didn't know it. Unfortunately, we'd love to just jump in, but adopting from Korea requires a payment of about $17,000 when we receive a referral. It could take about a year or so to receive a referral, but we honestly don't see how we can come up with an "extra" $17,000, and that doesn't include other fees or travel. Hmmm.

Ok, so maybe I really don't have anything to write about. For once, my life is pleasantly boring. I'm sure I'll cook up something exciting soon. Stay tuned....

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Purpose of a blog

So, I stated in my first post that this is to keep in touch with family, friends and total strangers. Now I'm including "little brothers of long time friends' who you haven't seen in 9 years 3 months and 28(?) days". Ok, Lisa, you'll have to assist with the date count. Is that about right?

Now, for friends who have started a blog to keep track of certain events regarding a really long process used by the rich and famous (as well as the poor and obscure) to add to their famliy size - you really need to actually post things in order for us to stay in touch with current events. KWIM?

Events here: let's just say it doesn't look like Ethiopia is where we're adopting from (at least not this time). Yes, we were approved. Yes, it's more affordable than most programs. Yes, there is a TREMENDOUS need for homes for the kids there. But. and that's a big BUT. ("He touched the Butt" - from Nemo, I know you've seen it, don't lie.) It just doesn't feel right for us. Not right now.

We entered into this process envisioning a child with Asian features. Is it wrong to select the country to adopt from based on the appearance of the people who live there? I don't think so. I mean, when you have biological kids, you kind of have a bit of an idea of what they'll look like because you look in the mirror every day and you look at your spouse every day (or almost) and at some point in time (and still for many of us lucky ones married to amazingly attractive people both inside and out) you were physically attracted to that person. Since Tom spent soooo much time while in the Navy in Asian countries, and I've always found the eyes to be very gentle and soothing, it makes sense to us to "go with our first instinct" and adopt from Asia. ALSO, my family is a little bit racist. Some of them. A little. So we're going to adopt from the part of the world that will cause the least resistance. Of course, if we didn't want to cause any uproar we wouldn't adopt at all, but we like to stir things up a little. So this'll be fun.

Oh, the country of choice today? Not China again. Nope. I don't want to wait 3 years. We've already established that I'm not patient. Let's see. That leaves: Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam, Korea, Cambodia, Mongolia, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan (some parts), Nepal, Japan (no international adoptions), Hong Kong.....

Oh, we'll not make the announcement yet. I hate to announce things then change my mind and have to explain it.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Beatrice Brigade

A great article on homeschooling, and the moms who do it:

The Beatrice Brigade

Just when I doubt what I'm doing and why I'm doing it (homeschooling), along comes a great article celebrating what and why and I am recommitted.

Monday, April 9, 2007

The Adventure Begins (again)

Well, we did it.

After submitting our initial application back in November, 2006 to adopt from China, then having the requirements change, which made TONS of people try to get their dossiers to China by the May 1, 2007 deadline, which is resulting in even LONGER referral waits (17 months!), and then re-evaluating why we wanted to adopt and at what cost and from where....

I just mailed our Letter of Request to our agency to change our country to Ethiopia and to request a sibling group with at least one girl and the oldest child younger than 4. WOW! Now I have to wait for the Agency to review our request and get back to us with the next step.

Patience is a virtue that I do not possess.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Celtic Wallhanging

So, I stayed away from the computer for 3 days, and look what happened! I sewed something. Unfortunately, the colors don't really go with our current color scheme - in any room, but I had the time, the motivation and the energy and just raided my stash for colors that worked together and TADA! - I made a Celtic Wallhanging. Go me.

The first post

The first post is so important. it shows who i am. what i think. what's important to me. so i figured i'd get the first All Important Post out of the way so i can move on to important things. :-)

This is all just a big test anyway. not sure i'd even keep up with it, but in theory it's a great way to stay in touch with friends, family and total strangers.

So here it is. my first post. impressed yet?


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