Around here, if you’re not a Steeler’s fan, you’re not having fun.  Matt has been a Steeler’s fan for years (it all started with a teenager trying to irritate his father), and it has really rubbed off on the kids.  This year, it has even gotten to me.  It’s fun to have your team go to the Superbowl!  The kids have been so psyched, and really getting into it.  Game day is gonna rock!


Cabin fever is at an all-time high around here.  Maybe we have no excuse, since we just went on vacation, but it takes more than one week in SC to make you not notice that the windchill is -1 outside.  It doesn't help that I was sick for a day and a half -- and I do mean sick.  In bed.  Kids running the house.

Mom being sick around here is harder on them than it is on me.  (Well, maybe.)  People get crabby, people fight, people get depressed, husbands start to wonder if he's going to lose you ... (36 hours!!!)  It's a good exercise, I guess.  Lying in bed motionless, aching in every cell makes you appreciate you ability to do housework (which is always a mood-lifter for me, strangely).  It makes your kids appreciate your presence -- even if you're crabby, it's better than "not there."  And your husband tells you over and over again how great it is to have you back, and not just for the work aspect.  He's very sad without me ... is it wrong that I think that's just great? :-)

Today I am back to my old self, except now there's a serious cramp in my neck from lying abed for too long.  I know you don't care about that, but it's keeping me from thinking of anything else to write!  My neck hurts, my neck hurts, my neck hurts ... isn't that what you're supposed to do when you have writer's block?  OK, ok ... I'll end your misery.  I have stuff to do anyway.  Just wanted to stop in so you don't stop stopping in.


Oh, and in case you're wondering ... yes, the end of Julia's poem was about death but she wasn't in a suicidal mood.  :-)  She handed it to me quite cheerfully and proud.  It's just that she's really got a poet's soul.  She was lying in bed with her face buried in a pillow, and noticed that her breath got very hot ... which led to the cool breaths, which led to a diversion into the different roles of breath, including the breaths of a dying person.  She's deep, but she's not macabre.   Thanks for the compliments.


Cool, crisp, life sustaining,

Frigid, sharp, oxygen containing,

Hot, stifling, strained,

Burning, smothering, pained,

Slowing, thinning, almost done,

Inhale, exhale ... none.


by  (wait for it ...)









Julia Ziebro (age 12)
My child is amazing.


My brother, the new Marine, is in town.  He is a lean, mean hunky Marine, and quite the celebrity.  He came over and I got these cute shots of the kids playing with him.  He's single, ladies!


Check out those guns!


 If he weren't my "little" brother, I'd be swooning!  :-)

This is a picture of Owen through the arms of Aaron.  He's really doing it!!  What a strong little guy!


The scene: dinner at the Z house

Owen (to Mia): I’m your boyfriend

(Mia smiles lovingly at Owen.)
Me: You guys.  Why can’t you just say you’re her husband?  Then you can be the mom and the dad, and you can love each other.

Mia (in earnest): But I don’t want to be a mom!

Me: Why not?  Being a mom is cool.

(Mia looks skeptical.)

Me: What, you don’t think Moms are cool?

Mia (without skipping a beat): NO.  All they do is tell their kids what to do all day.

Noelle:  Nah-uh, Mia.  They do work all the time too … but they LIKE it.  They learn ways to make it fun over the years.
It seems my “hip mom” designation is in question.  Apparently so is my sanity, but hey, at least they know I’m working hard!

 This whole conversation, as cute as it is, is why I need to remove myself from neighborhood influences.  I mean, what ever happened to little girls wanting to me mommies, instead of girlfriends!!???

One other cute thing …

I scolded Owen for pestering me about Halloween candy, so he went into the other room and came back with these on

and said, “Mom, now I have these on so you can’t yell at me.”  
LOL!  He found these in a box of Matt’s old stuff.  They are to be worn in a firing range.  Does that give you any idea of my stress level these days? 


OK, totally cute … Elena sent my brother -- a new-recruit Marine – a letter today.  This was a fun assignment instead of the usual grammar.  (See how awesome homeschooling is?!)  She asked him if he planned to trick-or-treat, and if so, what he planned to go dressed as.  LOL!

Um … my guess is “no” and if he did go he’d be going as “soldier who’s getting his butt kicked”.

 She also wanted to know if he planned to go anywhere anytime soon.  OK, that would be another “no”.  Thank God he will know her innocence, or else it might look like she was taunting him!  He will get such a kick out of it!

 I miss that guy!


In our homeschool group, everyone is supposed to organize one field trip per year.  I took the easy way out and organized a tour of the local firehouse because I knew it would be free, very convenient to me geographically, and best of all – my boys would LOVE it.

So, bright and early this morning we arrived at Station 55, with our very own little fire captain in the bunch.  He was wearing clothing underneath his uniform today.  J  These guys are the NICEST bunch of hunks -- I mean firefighters you’ve ever met.  It didn’t hurt that they didn’t pay a lick of attention to me (ok, I might have caught one or two of the single ones looking once or twice), but were absolutely focused on the little munchkins.  These guys put their hearts into teaching our little ones how to Stop, Drop, and Roll and not to think of the firefighters as monsters when they’re all dressed up in their gear.  (They told us that sometimes after a fire is over they find little ones in closets or under beds hiding!!!)

We split the kids up into older kids and younger kids, and let the big kids think they were getting something more.  I stayed with the younger group and got to see where the firefighters sleep and eat, and of course the fire truck. (I must say, my heart beat just a lil’ bit faster when one of the firefighters gallantly helped me off the truck.)  At one point I stooped down and asked Owen through his toy mask if he was having fun.  He was so serious up to that point, but when I asked him about the fire truck, he broke into a big smile and said, “This is MY fire truck.”  I think he was having one serious imagination trip in his head!!!  I asked him if he drove it, and that snapped him out of it and he told me that he could (and would) when he was “big.”  Mmmm … little boys are the MOST delicious of all!

If you’re wondering, yes, Matt knows about my crush.  He knows I’m a sucker for a man in uniform, and it was only compounded by how ADORABLE they were with the kids.  They’re my heroes too, for Heaven’s sake … what girl doesn’t swoon when she’s around these guys?  Hey … it just occurred to me.  I could start some more fires!!


Please tell me ... If you had a firefighter walking around your house looking like this, wouldn't you be starting fires all over the place just to keep him around?



Our "Vally Park"

 Over the course of the next few days I will post some of the 120 photos I took at the park yesterday, both because there are too many for one post and because I will need something easy to post as I frantically search for a place to live.  WE SOLD OUR HOUSE!  But first about the park ...

We had a VERY last minute showing yesterday (pat us on the back for getting it together in very little time), so we headed to the park with our school books in tow.  We ate a fast-food picnic, played, and did our school work on the most perfect day of the year.  I took along my camera and experimented, with some fairly good results.  This, of course, is not hard to imagine when you know how photogenic my kids are.  But I am also quite proud of a few of my nature shots.  Who knew, including me, that I had an interest in photography?  It was such fun for me.

And now for the house news:  Pat me on the back for forcing my family (kids in tears, husband in disbelief) to show the house in an hour and a half.  Usually we get more notice than that; and keep in mind that life was not exactly normal around here due to the widespread power outtages that still persist.  BUT ... get it ready we did, and within a couple of hours we had an offer.  We've since countered and agreed on terms, and are still in a state of shock that we have to be out by November first.

Are you wondering why I've now made an announcement twice that we've sold our house?  Well, the first contract is contingent upon the sale of their house, which is priced too high.  Their contract was a beautiful thing: it did not cause our house to go "pending", in which case no one would take a second look at our place.  The other great thing about it was that it was "sudden death" -- it required no notice to them if we accepted another offer.  So we are in business with these new folks.  Their only contingency is a contract that they are not "officially" out of due to a failed inspection (mere paperwork).  Their house is sold, and they are impatient.  Two houses they've tried to buy have failed an inspection, so they are ready to go.  This also explains the expectation of moving in at closing.

Our heads are spinning, and we don't know what we are doing.  Nothing out there seems to have all that we're looking for (3000 square feet or more, 5 acres, not UGLY, not out in the middle of nowhere ...)  We might be forced to rent an executive home for a few months so that we are not pressured to "settle" simply because we're out of time.  This is a good problem to have ... I'm not complaining.    As I've said from the beginning, God will show us the way!

Want to know what's out there to rent for a family of seven?  Much ... in a market like this.

And now for my beautiful family ...


Indian boy.

Mia the peanut.

Cute boys in cool tones.


Noelle in cool tones.

I know.  She looks like Julie Z.  I hear it all the time.  :-)

Julia in sepia tones.


Why won't they ANSWER me?