May 2008

Ever had one of those days where you take one step forward only to take two steps back? That’s what my days felt like this week… the good news is that my older two have been playing very well together, so well that I haven’t felt the need to go to playgroup or find a play date to get us all out of the house. They’ve enjoyed playing their various pretend games in one section of the house, while I was able to work on something productive in a different part. My feeling of success was often short lived as I would later discover the mess involved in their pretend games…

One day I was able to clean the upstairs while they played nicely downstairs. Turns out they had invented a game they call “junk”. Playing junk kept them occupied for a good 30-40 min while they took toys from the toy room and hid them under the table in our entry way. Seems innocent enough, till I go downstairs to take a look under that table. It took over an hour of my undivided attention to get them to clean up from junk as they took the toys one at a time back to the toy room.

During another afternoon, the kids were playing a game they called “monster truck” in which they were jumping off the toy box and crushing an empty water bottle. This too appeared harmless,so I went off to do other things. Then I heard, “OK you jump on the banana and I’ll crush the bottle” I looked over just in time to see an already partially smashed banana on the floor which I prevented from being completely mashed into our carpet.

Yesterday I was putting away laundry (a rare accomplishment in my house) while the kids were playing in their room. Since I didn’t hear any screaming, crying, or fighting, I assumed they were ok. Turns out they are playing “Shower” which is a new game that involves taking all the blankets, pillows and stuffed animals off of their beds and putting them on the floor while they stand half naked on their beds pretending to take a bath. Nice.

While we finally had some warm, spring like weather here this week, it wasn’t exactly swim suit weather. No problem, they dived off of the toy box and went “swimming on our floor.”

Today I let the kids float corks in a bowl of water on our deck. Needless to say this quickly turned into a splish splashy mess. I realized they were involving our baby in this mess, when I heard “Let’s baptize her.” I looked over to see them cupping their hands with water and pouring it over her head. I quickly put a stop to this. Meanwhile our baby was releaved that we are Presbyterian, thus saving her from having been dunked.

So, while I am grateful my kids have an active imagination and are learning to play well together, I now need to work on getting them to more quickly clean up the mess they leave behind.

Oh, and one more…..

Yes, that’s milk that my daughter poured all over my couch. Nice, huh?


My Fall into Infamy

May 28, 2008

in Me to You

Have you or someone you know ever gone on a short term missions trip with the desire to make a difference in the world at large? Not sure exactly what you can do but hoping that the Lord will use you to help however He can?

Well, when I was 15 years old I went on a 2 week missions trip with MTW to Mexico City, Mexico. We were there to help with building a church addition. On my second day at the site, I had an accident. We had been working on the third story of the building. There were no stairs leading up to the third story yet. To get down you either had to go on a ladder or climb down to the adjacent building. I was afraid of heights so I opted out of the ladder. I had straddled over the wall and was standing on a ledge. I only had to jump about 6 inches to the next roof, but I was still a bit nervous. One of the guys I was walking down with jokingly suggested I jump on what we didn’t realize at the time was a sky window and then down to the roof. (I am sure you see where this is going).

I didn’t realize he was kidding. I also didn’t realize it was a sky window. It was made of ceramic tiles not clear glass.

The poor guy in our group had walked on down when he heard the crash. I am sure he was thinking, “Oh no, she didn’t!”

But, yes, I did!

I fell 15 feet into a bathroom of the neighbors home. As I fell, for whatever odd reason, I had this image of baby Jessica falling into that well in Texas and I thought, “I’m going to be here for 5 days.” When I landed, I landed standing up. I truly believe it was a miracle from God that I didn’t hit my head or anything. I broke my foot because of the impact of landing on my feet. I remember looking up and seeing one of our youth leaders and some of my friends peering down at me with concern. The first thing out of my mouth was, “I’m in a bathroom!”

No one was home when I crashed into the bathroom so they had to figure out how to get me out and if I was ok. All these people were staring down at me speaking Spanish (which I only knew un poco). I was still marveling at the fact that I wasn’t in a well. My fearless youth leader jumped down with me and they lowered a ladder which I climbed up and they lifted me out.

I then had to go to the hospital. Imagine how difficult it was to follow directions for the X rays when I didn’t understand any Spanish. The nurses would act out what position they wanted me in and then I would follow. Finally I was given a cast and sent back to my group. Don’t I look lovely sitting with my feet up while me team dotes on me? I spent the rest of the trip as the group, “encourager” as there was very little I could then do on the work site with a crutches and a cast.

Being the good daughter that I was, I called home to let my parents know about the accident and that I was alright. However, they weren’t home at the time so I left a message with my 12 year old brother. Being the stupid teenager that I was, I never called back to actually talk to my parents and reassure my poor mother that I was indeed fine. So, my parents got home and my brother told them, “Crystal called, she says she fell through a roof and broke her foot, but she is OK.” My poor parents had no means of getting in touch with me for the next 10 days. I never called back because I thought it would be expensive to call from a foreign country and figured they knew I was OK. As a mother, I can only imagine how worried and frustrated my parents must have been. My mom said she spent lots of time praying and clinging to Scripture during those weeks. Incidentally, anytime I left home ever again, they always stressed that I could ALWAYS call home, no matter the cost, to check in and if I did get hurt, to please, please make sure I talked to them.

Turns out God did use me to make a difference. No, I didn’t do much church building or witnessing, but I did provide MTW with a classic example with which to teach leaders about the kind of bizarre accidents they may encounter in the field. About 5 years later my Dad and brother went on a missions trip with a different church, in a different state, but the same organization. As they were going through their orientation in Moose Factory, Canada, someone asked about injuries on short term trips. The MTW worker said something about how they don’t usually have a problem, but one time there was this girl who went to Mexico and she fell through a roof… My dad and brother just looked at each other, knowing who that girl was. Way to leave a mark on the world, huh?

For more pictures and stories from the past check out We are THAT Family‘s Sincerely Fro Me to You Carnival.


This weekend my girls demonstrated a newly acquired skill for our circus act

Meet my Sword Swallowers

For more Wordless Wednesdays, visit 5 Minutes for Mom.

Click here to check out more of my Life Under the Big Top.


Today my son spontaneously came up to my 2 year old and gave her a kiss. Afterwards the following discussion took place.

Daughter: “No kiss, Only Daddy Kiss.”

Mommy: “But he’s your brother and he was being nice.”

Daughter: “No, only Daddy kiss.”

Mommy: “So, the only boy that can kiss you is Daddy?”

Daughter: “Yes”

Daddy was a happy man when I shared this anecdote.


With three children under 4, it isn’t always easy to get out for a date night. Sometimes we do date nights at home. We feed the kids a simple dinner… chicken nuggets or hot dogs. While I am getting the kids ready for bed, my husband grills us steak for dinner. We light a candle and enjoy a leisurely dinner together. We get to talk, uninterrupted and enjoy our food while it is still warm. I have found that steaks typically go on sale at least once a month. We can do the entire steak dinner for two with under $15 which is way cheaper then anything but fast food out on the town. While we still enjoy going out for an occasional date night, our home date nights allow us to have a special evening together more often.

Sometimes we want to top the evening off with a movie, so we’ll head to our local Red Box. If you haven’t tried Red Box yet, I highly recommend it. It is basically a movie vending machine, most often they are in front of McDonald’s (I have seen some area grocery stores with them as well). For one dollar, you can rent a New Release movie. To find your nearest Red Box, visit their website. You can even find out what movies are in stock and available. You have until 9pm the next night to return it to any Red Box. This typically isn’t a problem for us, but if you’re late, they just charge you another dollar for an additional night. You’d have to keep it for 4 nights to equal the cost of renting it at Blockbuster. And there are no membership fees either.

Time alone with my hubby without breaking the bank….that works for me, to find out what works of others check out Rocks in My Dryer.


Last night we were walking along the beach in our neighborhood and someone walked by with her two dogs. One big dog passed to our right, the other between my son and I to our left. As this was happening she asked if the kids were ok with dogs. It was then that I realized how I’ve taken this fact for granted.

I am not a dog person. When I go to other dog owners homes, you won’t see me sitting on the floor playing with the dog or cuddling them on my lap. BUT, I am incredibly thankful that my kids are growing up in a house with a dog. When we are out at the park or taking a walk and someone walks by with a dog, my kids don’t shriek with fear. They don’t really even think twice of it.

Having a dog around the house, who is known to bark from time to time (ok every time someone walks their dog in front of our home), gets them used to a certain noise level. My kids don’t frighten easily. They rarely flinch at loud noises (aka the Blue Angels air show, the Circus, motorcycles) and I attribute this to the fact that we don’t live in a quiet house. Since they were in my womb, they’ve been accustomed to random loud barking from time to time.

So, while I don’t appreciate the dog hair shed all over my house, and despise when she wakes the kids when people come during nap time, I am so grateful she’s a part of our family. I appreciate her patience with my kids, her eager greeting when we come home, her eating the food that my kids drop on the floor (seriously – its amazing how messy our floor gets if she’s not around when we eat), and the life experiences she offers to my kids. I am glad my kids are being raised in a home with a dog.

If you don’t mind sub par grass in your backyard and a rug that looks like…..well…your back yard. I recommend you consider having a dog.