Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Family Photos

Cousins, cousins and some more cousins!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Joy to the world! The Lord is come!
I was large with child on two separate Christmas evenings not long ago. I was only six and seven months pregnant in '95 and '97, but remember empathizing with Mary in terms of physical comfort. She must have been anxious, but she had already told the angel, "Let it be done to me as you have said."

May you hold on to faith as Mary did - faith that God holds you in the very palm of his hand and that he has a plan for your life. We don't know what those plans are, but we know that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. My goal is to let him live through me today.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

When Life Gives You Lemons

Eat them. That's what Mr. Rellim did. Though, he actually thought it was the worst orange he'd ever eaten in his life. He even called me from work to ask if all the oranges in the fruit basket were as awful.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Peppermint Biscotti

I made biscotti (biscottis?). What is the plural form of that word? Anyway, this is a delicious recipe and the crunch is especially nice for those of us allergic to nuts. You should try it.

UPDATE: The most difficult part of this recipe is opening up and crushing the candy canes!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Fitness Update

The adult fitness program requires a fitness update every three months. During this update, a graduate student took my strength, flexibility and physical measurements. The ratio between hip and waist measurements is apparently a general indicator of heart disease. I learned that I lost 2 inches around my hips (hooray!). Unfortunately, this changes my ratio and increases my heart disease risk from "low" to "moderate."

I tried not to laugh, then told her I'd work on eating some more cookies this month.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Boys v. Girls

A friend's daughter was visiting today and she related the story of someone in her class who "got in big trouble for taking a bite of the teacher's sandwich!"

Quinn asked, "Why? Was it a big bite?"

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Friday, December 10, 2010

Loud Enough for You?

My car was vibrating to the beat of the bass from the music of a car next to me. As I sat at the stop light, I couldn't help watching the high school tassel hanging from the rearview mirror of that car. The sound waves were so intense, that the tassel was being buffeted as if in a small windstorm.

This may be the time to open a small audiology practice, specializing in noise-induced hearing loss. Doesn't anyone pay attention to the hearing conservation messages? Listen to your buds!

More Creativity

Quinn is thinking about how to make his empty bottle of Coke into a small smoke bomb in case he ever needs to make a (ready for this?) "tasty retreat."

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Christ in a Mall Full of Christmas Shoppers?

My friend, Jamie really knows how to write. Check out her blog post on a flash mob singing the Hallelujah Chorus.

I'm Almost There

After putting her grandchildren to bed, a grandmother changed into old
slacks and a droopy blouse and proceeded to wash her hair. As she heard
the children getting more and more rambunctious, her patience grew thin.
Finally, she threw a towel around her head and stormed into their room,
putting them back to bed with stern warnings. As she left the room, she
heard the three-year-old say with a trembling voice,
"Who was THAT?"

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Monday, December 06, 2010

Secret Santa

Quinn is participating in a secret Santa gift exchange. In order to hide his identity, he told me that he is disguising his penmanship by writing with his non-dominant hand. The unintended consequence is that his gift recipient now wonders if her secret Santa has special needs.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Unexpected Christmas Gift

A re-furbished garage door system.

Apparently, an automatic garage door can withstand only so many rake handles in the track. And kids using it as a modified carnival ride doesn't help either.

How do they treat it as a ride? They used to grab hold of the handle at the bottom of the door and hang on until the door was fully opened.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Monday, November 29, 2010


Quinn told me he's lucky he knows how to hold in his tears, because his chorus teacher is tormenting him about his "fake, scary doll-baby smile." I think my son has a beautiful smile (And we paid a lot of money in surgical and orthodontic work!). So I asked him to show me what his teacher is talking about.

Oh! That fake, scary doll-baby smile. Yeah, we will have to work on that one. We'll start by brushing your teeth.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


Quinn has this toy that is a type of pedometer, only the number of steps equates to watts and "experience points" for the pokemon in his video game. These points then transfer from the pokewalker back to the video game. The idea, I suppose, is to get the kid off the couch for a while.

Instead, I've observed my son to think of creative ways to get the pokewalker to register "steps" taken.

1. tape pokewalker to ceiling fan and turn on high
2. place pokewalker in salad spinner and spin
3. attatch pokewalker to neighbor's dog's collar
4. attach pokewalker to cat and entice it to chase laser light
(problem - we don't have a cat)
5. attach pokewalker to box fan and turn on high so that it vibrates

Friday, November 26, 2010

Never Say Never

I Black-Friday-ed. Well, it was more like late-Thursday-ed. Anyway, from 10pm until 12am, I scurried after my friend at the local outlet shops and found some deals. I was ushered back to reality while watching a young mother pick up her baby from her car seat and wake up her toddler and lug them into a line outside a popular store, where they waited in the windy 25-degree temps for the doors to open.

Enough. I drove home, pondering the materialistic scene, and counting my very many blessings.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

So Many Tears

. . . during the Harry Potter movie, of all places!

when Hermione obliviated her parents' memories in order to protect them
when George was cursed
when Ron was splinched
when Harry & Hermione visited his parents' graves
when Ron was being tormented by the locket horcrux
when Hermione was being tortured by Bellatrix
when Dobby died

Mr. Rellim had to hold back tears when Harry's owl, Hedwig died trying to protect Harry. That one didn't make my list. I guess I'm just not an animal person.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Try This

During a recent lunch date with my dad, I was reminded of this funny thing he does with the wait staff. He calls them by name as soon as he reads their name tag. He especially enjoys calling them by name if they haven't yet introduced themselves. It really is particularly entertaining to watch the expressions on the faces of these servers while they try to figure out how this man knows them.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Girls Basketball Begins

Rachel is playing Fresh/Soph and JV and Varsity. Well, actually, she is dressing varsity, playing JV and starting Fresh/Soph. But tonight? Tonight?! Rachel was leading scorer for the Fresh/Soph team with a double-double!! That's ten points and ten rebounds. She would have had a triple-double, but they only called four fouls on her. She is so excited and we are so proud.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Choosing to SEE

Extremely personal and touching story of Mary Beth Chapman's struggle to be in control of her life and the humbling realization and acceptance that God has other plans. From childhood to current day, with particular focus on the tragic loss of their daughter, Maria, Mary Beth describes in detail how God has chosen their family to care for orphans and promote adoption.

I donate monthly to their organization, Show Hope at Maybe you'd like to check it out too?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Antique Shopping

Mom and I were at a local antique shop today and noticed a funny three-legged chair near the check-out counter. The tag said, "authentic German birthing chair." Of course, I had to check it out. I loudly pondered how something like this could work. "Wouldn't you get splinters?" The antique shop owner suggested that I change my position slightly on the chair in order to understand the complete ergonomic effect. In doing so, the chair promptly cracked into five pieces and collapsed under me. Fortunately, I did not break the glass display cases that were on either side of me. And I did land on my softest body part.

The owner began laughing hysterically before she apologized and asked if I was OK. "Sorry," she said, "but that was just the funniest thing I've seen in a long time."

I was just happy that she didn't ask me to pay for it.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Not a Botanist

Mr. Rellim and I grow an awesome salsa garden in the summer. We also have some fairly nice perennial gardens around the house. Knowing this, a friend asked me to diagnose the problem with a big tree in her yard. I told her that it looked like Dutch Elm Disease. A few days later, a university botanist made a house call to look at her tree. "First of all," he said, "this is an oak tree."

I guess I'll stick with the tomatoes.

Sunday, November 07, 2010


Jamie and Corbett got married yesterday. Short and sweet ceremony on Lake Geneva. Congratulations!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Overheard on the News

Regarding the loss of many liberal leaders:


Overheard at My Dinner Table

"Sorry. I didn't mean to stab you so hard."

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Think on This

Think on this, dear Congressman, when you wonder why you'll be job-hunting this winter.

“There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him. ”

—American writer Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988)

You Said It!

“Well you could even describe it as a civic awakening... Quite frankly I'm excited about what this means — not because it's going to put a particular Party in place — but because citizens are once again assuming the responsibility for determining the future of this country.”

— Tony Perkins, president on Family Research Council

Thanks, Mrs. Bickerson

Thanks for reminding me of this School House Rock video. Click here to view it yourself.

Monday, November 01, 2010


“Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual — or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country.”

—Samuel Adams, in the Boston Gazette, April 16, 1781

Halloween Mobster and Mobstress

Friday, October 29, 2010

It's Over

I quit Facebook. Huge time suck. Felt like I was perusing a People magazine most of the time. Now I'll have more time for blogging.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Paradoxical Thought

"Fathom the odd hypocrisy that Obama wants every citizen to prove they are insured, but people don't have to prove they are citizens."
~ Ben Stein

I just learned that in some cities, one does not even have to be a legal citizen to vote in some elections. WHAT?!

Friday, October 22, 2010

It was Early

Mr. Rellim and I returned from working out. It was 6:25 am. We encouraged the kids to come outside to look at the beautiful moon. Heavy boot sounds and loud voices alerted us to others awake on our block. The kids were a bit alarmed as we live on a quiet block. I said something like, "Oh! It's the ROTC guys!"

Rachel high tailed it back toward the house because she thought I said "Nazis."

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Remember Colbert's Report to Congress Last Month?

Click here for a review. Then get ready for an interesting quote:

“Everything is changing. People are taking the comedians seriously and the politicians as a joke. ”

—American humorist Will Rogers (1879-1935)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Sunday, October 17, 2010

State Park Photos

Here are a few funny snapshots from my family's "forced" outing this afternoon. We did manage to get a few good ones, but these made me laugh!

Saturday, October 16, 2010


I have a new link titled "Words of the Day," compliments of From this page, I gleaned a gem of a word that I intend to use at our next staff meeting:

[huh-nee-FUH-gle] To dupe or deceive by flattery; to obtain by deception

Wish me luck!

Friday, October 15, 2010

I Get This One

kerfuffle: A commotion or fuss, especially one caused by conflicting views

I Still Don't Understand


Funny Op Ed

I'm impressed by the Harry Potter-esk title as well as the vocabulary words - kerfuffle & fungible.

Barack Obama and the Chamber of Secrets.

Working Out

Mr. Rellim and I are now participating in 5:30 am workouts in an adult fitness program. I observe exercise physiology students and staff as well as a nurse available to take blood pressure readings. I notice that if someone's blood pressure is high, they are told, "GO SIT ON THAT BENCH!" Sometimes, the person will be allowed to walk around a nearby track while being scowled at by the blood-pressure-taker.

Like the adult person with the high blood pressure reading is being bad!

Tell ya what - if someone would use a scary tone of voice with me that early in the morning, I'd probably start to cry - or kick them hard and run home. Not sure which.

Anyway, I guess the workouts are going OK. It's so early that by the end of the day I've forgotten that I worked out, though. Weird.

Or maybe it's just the TIAs.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Hmmm . . .

A friend alerted me to this great quote.

"The wise man questions the wisdom of others because he questions his own, the foolish man, because it is different from his own."

--Leo Stein,
American art collector and critic

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Thursday, October 07, 2010

I Shouldn't Have Asked

These "instruments" were lying outside our back door. Apparently, whatever was in the toilet had to first be subdued by a long-handled paint stick before being plunged repeatedly down the pipe.

(and I was still trying to get over the spaghetti & meatballs on the living room carpet from last night . . .)

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Government on Your Back?

You gotta check this out! Very well made.

Hip Hop

Rachel was listening to a new hip-hop song on the radio. The lyrics were something about a G-6 ("like a G-6"). I think it's talking about how a girl feels when she is around some guy - like gravity is six times the normal feeling between them. Whatever.

From the backseat I heard Quinn singing about a cheese stick. ("like a cheese stick")

Rachel and I laughed. Then Quinn laughed too. Because whatever could it mean if someone made you feel like a cheese stick?

Monday, October 04, 2010

I Corinthians 15:58

I didn't want to volunteer at church last Wednesday. I was tired. Probably they wouldn't miss me anyway, right?

Then I opened a letter from Ricardo, our Compassion International child who lives in Bolivia with his parents and four other siblings in a tiny home the size of our living room - maybe. For whom our Christmas Gift of $100 purchased shoes and clothing for all of them. And food. And a new roof.

He reminded me of this verse from I Corintians 15:58 (NLT):
So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.

So I went to church with a cheerful heart and renewed spirit - because of a boy thousands of miles away who was moved to write a simple Bible verse for me.

Thanks, Ricardo.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Missing Word

I'm flipping through Laura Bush's book and lingering in some chapters longer than others. In it, she attempts to describe the feelings associated with infertility, miscarriage, and infant death, which touched generations of women in her family. She mentions that in the English language there is no word for missing that which we have never met - such as a woman who yearns for a child.

I need that word today. One of my sisters yearns for a child.

And strangely enough, I'm feeling the loss of family I've never met. My dad's father died at the age of 42. My grandpa was the youngest of 11 children. Eleven children who now would be in their 90s and who had many children and now have many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. My dad's mother had to move her family out of state only a couple years after my grandfather's death. Inter-state communication was not convenient in the 1960s. Now I yearn to know about this part of my family. I wonder what memories we might have made together.

Friday, October 01, 2010


A friend and I were lamenting the unintentional consequences to the family during periods of teenage angst. Her story was the best. After reaching the end of a 2.4 mile trail on a mountain in Yosemite last weekend, her 14 year old daughter plopped down and refused to walk back down. The young lady's father, using all his psychological training, was ultimately able to convince her to follow the family back down the mountain. And someday her family will appreciate not having left her up there . . .

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Quinn's new exclamation is, "Kumbaya!!"

Pretty close.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

It's Time

"If ever time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin." Samuel Adams --

In our town, we call ourselves the TEA Party Patriots. We have a lot of parties, actually. And we send a lot of emails and make a lot of phone calls. Please get to know the candidates up for election in your local races. And don't forget to VOTE!

Just Thinking

“I think we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious.”

— Thomas Jefferson

Are we becoming a country that is divided between the "HAVES" and the "HAVE-NOTS?" How do we encourage industriousness? How should we reward success?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Dear Well-Meaning Father,

I know you were sincerely concerned about your daughter's health and safety. I know that you were just trying to start up a nice conversation. But in the future, please don't greet her with, "What's that on your head - a bruise?!"

Because it's probably not. And teenage girls don't need any reminders about their teenage complexions - not even a tiny imperfection that may resemble a bruise.

Friday, September 17, 2010

That Powerful Friend

"And have we now forgotten that powerful Friend? or do we imagine
we no longer need its assistance? I have lived, Sir, a long time; and
the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this Truth, that
God governs in the Affairs of Men. And if a Sparrow cannot fall to the
Ground without his Notice, is it probable that an Empire can rise
without his Aid?

Benjamin Franklin, Motion for Prayers in the Constitutional Convention, 1787

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Oh, that's why it took her so long to get ready this morning!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Crunchy Communion

I was trying to pray during communion this Sunday, but was completely distracted by what I thought was the sound of my children loudly munching their communion wafers. And how many communion wafers did they take, I wondered. They just kept chewing. And they must be have been chewing with their mouths wide open because I'd never heard a noisier communion time. Disgusted with them, I opened my eyes and shot a wicked glance their way.

Oops. My kids were both praying. It was the cute toddler behind us crunching her Golden Grahams who making all the noise.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


"Enough! I'm tired of you exploding me for that blog!"

(But how can I just let these opportunities go by - especially when he meant to say, exploiting?)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Well Said

“And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever. ”

—Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, Query 18, 1781


"Everybody just stay away from me! There is something wrong with my fart muscle!"

(Don't know what he meant exactly, but I decided to heed his advice.)

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Chimney Sweep

We haven't had our chimney inspected since our house fire (chimney & electically related) about 12 years ago. So I call this guy with a great yellow pages ad. He sounded professional over the phone. He was on schedule. AND he showed up in a black top hat with soot all over himself. The best part of his gig was the slogan on the side of his van, "A Sweep at the Wheel."

Much cash later, our fireplace has been inspected & cleaned, the bird nests removed from the top and a new chimney cap put in place. I asked the sweep what we should do if we think birds are nesting in the chimney again. He answered, "That would mean the end is near because the birds will have learned how to use tools to remove the new chimney cap I just installed."

"Ok," I said, "so just do nothing then."
He nodded with a smile.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Stop Molestering Me!

Pretty sure he meant to use the word "bothering." Or "pestering."

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Just Overheard

Mr. Rellim shouting from the garage, "OK, guys - if you hear a loud buzzing noise, that's me getting shocked by the electric weed wacker!!! I'm going to try out my re-wiring job . . . NOW!!!"

I haven't heard anything yet. Should I go check it out?

Friday, September 03, 2010

Who Was This Man, Really?

I'm reading his Perelandra where a man travels naked in a coffin to another planet. I wonder how he comes up with such funny ideas. Then I came across this beauty of a thought from him:
“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. ”

—C.S. Lewis

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Unintentional Perversion of the Word of God

Someone in the Middle School Sunday morning class was reading aloud from the book of Matthew about how Jesus told Simon Peter to cast his nets yet again into the Sea of Galilee. This time when the nets were pulled up, they were full of fish. So full that the disciples signaled to men in other boats nearby so they could assist with the haul.

The young man in class, using his best reading strategies, said, "Then the disciples strangled men in other boats nearby . . . "

I laughed and made sure the class understood the real story. Unfortunately, I imagine that may be the only thing they remember from the lesson.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Regarding Socialism

“Socialism is the philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance and the gospel of envy. ”

—British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

Dave Ramsey

Some friends offered good advice after reading yesterday's post. I know. I know. I've read almost all his books. Go Dave!


How many toes does it take to keep a man balanced? My brother-in-law is giving it a try with eight. He lost a couple on Saturday while mowing. Well, actually he was falling - with a lawnmower. And they aren't really lost, just unreattachable. You get the idea. Poor Chris. A little surgery, some IV antibiotics, and mind-numbing narcotics are doing the job. Get well soon, man!

Monday, August 30, 2010

See Ya Later, New Laptop

I wanted to buy a laptop for myself, but I noticed the upholstery on the sofa is shredding. I wanted to re-upholster the sofa, but noticed Quinn's mattress is in need of replacement. I wanted to buy Quinn a new mattress, but the dryer drum stopped spinning yesterday. I wanted to pay the appliance repair guy with cash, but the State of Illinois has not released payment to its Early Intervention Providers for a few months. Property taxes are due in a couple days so I tried to withdraw three grand from my super-secret credit union savings account, but alas, I only had $116.00.

I'm considering paying my Discover Card bill with my Mastercard.

Friday, August 27, 2010

About Taxes

“To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical. ”

—Thomas Jefferson

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Just Finished Reading

I was pleasantly surprised by this CS Lewis adult fiction. The first in a space trilogy. And the speech path part of my brain enjoyed his description of the alien language and how he was able to acquire it. I think I might read the next one too.

Sinners Welcome

I overheard some teachers talking about sinners. Apparently they were both "having sinners" in their rooms already this week. They were proud of getting started with sinners so soon in the school year. I contemplated the conversation for a brief moment before remembering (once again) how far south we now live.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

First Day of School 2010

New buildings too! Quinn is at the middle school and Rachel at the high school. After multiple attempts, neither Rachel nor the helpful custodian were able to open her locker using the combination. Being helpful, the helpful custodian used his key to open her locker, then walked away, proud of his helpfulness. Rachel did not put anything in the locker that would only open with a key she did not have. Now she has a new lock. At the middle school, Quinn said he will not need a mirror in his locker until he starts shaving.

Remember in November

Only 72 more "shopping" days until the election.

Friday, August 20, 2010


What Would Tommy Say Today?

“(A) wise and frugal government ... shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government. ”

—Thomas Jefferson

Window Shopping

In French, the term we use for "window shopping," literally translated means "window licking." This is my nephew helping himself to a large picture window.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I Already Have a Master (and a Master's) and a Mister

“Every step we take towards making the State our Caretaker of our lives, by that much we move toward making the State our Master. ”

—Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th president of the United States

Funny Story

I found a hammer in my book bag this afternoon during an overly-long inservice. I guess the school doesn't have metal detectors.