Welcome to the Fabulous Fishbowl...We're glad you stopped by!


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Young Student Writer….

Recently both Tiger Shark and Jabber Jaw entered a young student writer’s competition in our city. They submitted their entries through the class they attend for homeschool students. They have an incredible Creative Writing teacher, who encourages each of them with the comments she leaves on their writing papers.
We found out last week that Tiger Shark placed in the contest, and we were invited to a ceremony downtown to award all the winning contestants. The King Fish drove in 3 hours (one way) to be here for the event. I love that about my man, he will make every effort to be there for his family, and especially for these important celebrations. Have I mentioned that I am incredibly grateful for him? He rarely reads this blog, so instead of telling you, I need to make sure he knows how thankful and blessed I am. Enough said.
So, anyway… that’s where we were tonight… at the awards ceremony. There were over 4000 entries this year and only about 3% placed in the contest. Each of the winners received a medal and book of all the winning entries. We found out that Tiger Shark placed in both categories… prose and poetry! He was so proud, and naturally we were too. I have to say, I was also very proud of Jabber Jaw who celebrated the victory graciously with his big brother. It’s hard when my two boys are only 16 months apart, and one wins and the other does not. I’m usually concerned about hurt feelings and disappointment. While there was a little sadness, for the most part Jabber Jaw learned a huge life lesson this evening and handled it wonderfully.
Here are some photos of the event:
Young Student Writer’s Chairperson,
Connor Professor of American Literature
young writers contest 009-crop
Tiger Shark receiving his award.
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Decorated with both medals
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Brothers and Friends
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Small Fry during the ceremony… as cute as ever.
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Both of us with Tiger Shark
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The Entire Family
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Monday, March 29, 2010

Back to Life...

Just a quick post to tell everyone that my company has gone. I'm so sad! My girlfriend came to visit and we went to the awesome True Woman Conference. It was incredible... so affirming, convicting and life changing. I am so thankful for Nancy DeMoss and her team from Revive our Hearts for all the work they did planning such an event!

The general speakers to give you a quick taste were: Dr. Voddie Bauchman, Mary Kassian, Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Pastor James MacDonald, Jennifer Rothschild, and KayArthur.

The King Fish took over kids duties for over 2 days.... Lots of biblical truths to ponder and lots of notes to review. Overall, it was an incredibly refreshing weekend, and a great time to catch up and share life with a good friend.

I am blessed!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Company’s Coming

Don’t you just love how everything in the house gets cleaned when company’s coming?  Well maybe you aren’t like me…. your house is always clean and tidy, your bathrooms are sparkling, and your laundry is d-o-n-e done.  But here in the Fishbowl, that is not our reality.  Here my motto is, “If it weren’t for the last minute, nothing would ever get done.”  So that is why I am typing this after midnight having just thrown a load of laundry into the washer.  Only 5 more loads to go….  My company is arriving on Wednesday, which gives me one more day to pull everything together.  But oh how great it will be to have it all done and relax with a good friend.
As the day gets closer I am definitely getting more excited.  I have a good friend coming down south for a visit, and I love spending time with her.  I know I can look forward to a God centered time, lots of laughter and a girl who just accepts me as I am.  Is there anything better?  Oh yes!  An awesome women’s conference for us to attend as well! 
When I registered for the conference, I began receiving email devotionals every morning.  These are sent out to help attendees prepare their hearts for the conference.  It’s a 40 day heart preparation guide, but since I signed up so late, I am receiving the last 10 days.  (Didn’t I mention that “last minute motto” earlier).  Anyway, they have been awesome Scripture directed devotionals. They quicken my heart and cut right to where the Spirit needs to convict.  They’ve been a blessing and an encouragement. 
Things here in the Fishbowl have been less than optimal for the past 3 months.  With The King Fish away more than he is home, it’s been a difficult adjustment.  Having to handle the home front by myself has also been an adjustment.  And yet God knows what He is doing and He has a plan.  In the beginning I have to admit my prayers were often complaints.  Why this, why that, why, why, why???  I’m learning that God provides help when I need it, and that through Him I am able to do what I previously thought was too difficult.  In short I am learning to be content in my circumstances.  I still struggle with that issue of contentment, but like I said, I am learning.  Here is one of the devotionals on this very subject, for anyone needing it today. 
Day 6: Arguing with the Potter
Scripture Focus: Isaiah 44 “Woe to the one who quarrels with his Maker—an earthenware vessel among the vessels of earth! Will the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you doing?’” —Isaiah 45:9, NASB
Have you ever found yourself wondering whether things went wrong in the Creation Workshop the day your DNA blueprint was put together? Or perhaps it isn’t your physical appearance that causes you to resent your Maker, but you’re vulnerable to the same temptation that got Eve in trouble: God’s keeping something good from me, and I need to take things into my own hands in order to really be fulfilled.
When we are dissatisfied with our physical design, unhappy with God’s plan for our lives, or tempted to resent or resist His will, we can end up in the dangerous position of “quarreling with our Maker.”
Thanks to the wonder of technological and medical advances, we no longer have to live with sagging chins, baggy eyes, bulging waistlines, or otherwise unsatisfactory body parts. We can be clipped, nipped, and tucked; we can even switch our gender!
Further, we can change circumstances that are not to our liking. For example, a woman no longer has to stay married to a husband who cherishes Monday Night Football more than he cherishes his wife—no-fault divorce makes it easy and affordable to end an unhappy or difficult marriage.
In a world of seemingly endless opportunities for new and exciting careers, limitless ways to experience sensual pleasure, and innumerable ways to “fulfill” your life (everything from New Age gurus with offers of superior spirituality to the latest weight-loss plan), there is no shortage of ways to fuel our discontentment.
Here’s something to think about: Have you bought into the lie that someone else knows better than your all-knowing Master Potter what is best for you, His prized vessel? Contending with Him is more futile than striving with the wind. The way to true fulfillment is through gratitude, contentment, surrender, and humility.
When we finally learn to trust the Master Potter, our struggle will cease, anger and fear will flee, and we will find rest and tranquility in Him.
Take Time to Reflect Use Isaiah 44 to direct your heart into worshiping your Master Potter. Focus on His mighty power, His faithful works, and His tender love and care for you. God intimately created you for His good purposes. Memorize Psalm 139:14, and use it to battle lies of discontentment.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Garage “Before” Photos

I can’t believe I’m going to post this…. but it’s the reality of our garage.  Now you know why I want The King Fish to organize and build a workbench! 
I know not “everything” is going to fit on or under the workbench.  But I would like to see at least two of the large black metal shelves go away.  Or even if they have to stay… which I hope they do not, I’d like to have everything neat and in bins or something.  The King Fish says it can’t be done.  I say…. “watch me”.
Garage workbench 004
 This stuff just really needs to be put away.  And some of it needs to be sold at a yard sale.
Garage workbench 005

This is everything piled on and around our air hockey table.  It’s crazy!  That pub table was given to us to sell at our yard sale to raise money to bring Small Fry home.  It didn’t sell.  It now stores more tools.  Anytime a tool needs to go back into the garage, it gets put on that table to be filed away later.  Only later doesn’t usually happen.  I will be glad when all The King Fish’s tools have a new home.
Garage workbench 006

This is the cleared space for the new workbench.  I didn’t get a picture of it… but the space was filled with wood.  Building materials that The King Fish saved to use one day.  Because you never know when you will need some building materials.  He saves everything.  Once he took apart shelves that the previous owner built, and he saved the wood.  Which actually came in handy because we will build our coat wall rack from that wood.  I don’t mind his saving materials, because we have both always been about re-using and finding a new purpose for an old “something”.  That “something” could be an old table, wardrobe or even building materials.
Garage workbench 001

The King Fish measuring and leveling his line on the wall where the top of the workbench will go.
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The King Fish working on measuring wood to cut with his table saw.  A present from me ages ago.  Speaking of table saw…. I wonder where that will go???  Good grief.   
Garage workbench 009
Here is the workbench almost framed out.  He’ll hopefully finish it off next weekend when it is raining.  I can’t wait!  I’ll post some more photos of the construction in progress!
Garage workbench 007

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Another Remodeling Project

While today was a gorgeous day to finish off the swingset, it got put on hold once again I spent the morning shopping, and The King Fish had all the boys at the Awana games.  (Sort of like the Olympics, game style.)  Anyway, by the time I got home again, and they got home again…. the weather began to cloud up and dinner needed to be cooked….and so our swingset remodel got put on hold again.   Have I mentioned I will be so glad when it is finally complete??  Unfortunately it’s supposed to rain next weekend…. oh well.
In light of that news, we began another remodeling project in the home.  The workbench in the garage.  Would it surprise you to know that this is all I personally wanted for Christmas?  Would it also surprise you to know that the gift, that I asked for, was for the King Fish to completely organize the garage with a workbench for all our stuff.  Seriously, it’s true.  Our main gift to one another was to upgrade our cable TV service.  My gift to him was a battery charger, and his to me was to organize the garage.  That is the project “we”,  he started this evening.  (I just go out there to take pictures and encourage  bug him every once in a while.)
I’ll have tons of photos.  I already took before pictures, and I’ll have lots of photos in progress.  Our goal is to have the garage be cooled off enough in the summer to use as a shaded game area for the kids.  We have an air hockey table in there (with junk stored on it of course), and we would love to get a ping pong table.  If we had a place to store all his tools, paint, junk etc, I’m thinking it would make the space a lot more usable. 
We are also adding a long coat rack out there since we all come in through the garage.  Currently we use a hall tree in the front entrance to hang all our coats and it’s so full it could tip over!  When guests come over there is no room for their coats.  So, we’re adding that small project out in the garage as well.  I’ll be sure to post photos of that too when we are finished.  And our shoe caddy, display area in the front hall…. it needs some velcro and fabric.  I have both, I just need to get busy creating!
So much to do, so little time!!

I just have to share….

I went to our huge local consignment sale today.  This is how I shop for my boys.  It is a huge savings!
For my two oldest boys (Tiger Shark and Jabber  Jaw) I spent $134 for BOTH of them together. 
Here is what I was able to get:
13 pair of shorts
1 pr of Levi’s jeans
4 swim trunks
19 shirts
Cost per piece of clothing average…. about $3.62
Is that amazing or what??
Here is what I spent on Small Fry - $69
For $69 I bought the following:
3 pair of shortalls
3 pair of shorts
2 pair of jeans
1 pair of swim trunks
10 shirts
4 pair of Gap PJ’s
Average cost per item was right at $3.00.
I absolutely detest shopping.  (Not even Marshalls or Ross)  I just don’t like to shop.  So this sale is very convenient.  I can shop for all their fall winter needs during the back to school sale too.  All the clothes are gently used and there are a ton of brand names.  I bought many Old Navy, Gap, Levi’s and Arizona Jean items today.  It is awesome!  If you have a Just Between Friends Consignment Sale close to where you live you should check it out.  Especially those who are soon to be new moms.  The infant sections is HUGE.  Not just for clothing, but cribs, pack ‘n plays, baby carriers, strollers, toys and anything you could think of that a baby would need.  It’s crazy!  You definitely have to check it out. 
Which leads me to another thing:  If you have clothing and baby stuff to sell, this is a great place to do so!  It always helps me offset the cost of my new season purchases when I sell my gently used clothing. 
Here are a few photos of how huge this event is in our area.  These pictures can’t even begin to capture how big it is.  Those rows of clothes are only 18 months - 2T.  There were 4 more rows of all the other sizes!  And the infant area…. just a small snapshot.  Believe me when I say there is way more stuff
Here’s a link to the main website, so maybe you can locate a consignment sale in your area.  Just Between Friends
Have Fun!!
boys area
girls area
infant area

Friday, March 19, 2010

Hangin’ on by a Thread….

I'm still here....
My posts are sporadic at best. I hate that...
There is so much whirling around "activity wise" here at the home. The King Fish is still traveling all week and coming home on weekends. Some weeks are great and I manage to cruise through... and other weeks like this one, I am hangin' on by a thread. He's home now, and quite frankly we need a date night. Badly. The kind where you actually "go out together as a couple". Not the "lets stay in and watch a movie" kind of date. I'll see if I can work on that.
The boys and I are winding down on the school year. It has been pretty good, and I have about 9 weeks to push through and finish strong. I am really happy with their homeschool co-op that they are participating in. I think they have learned quite a bit in Science and Creative Writing. In history here at home, the boys should have every president memorized from 1-45 by the end of the year. Yay! I am proud of them. They also should have the entire Constitution of the United States memorized this year as well.
Just kidding.
Okay, what else can I share on here? Oh yeah, no sports this spring! Can you believe that? Absolutely none. We asked both boys if they wanted to play baseball and the answer was "Nyet". They need a break and they want to spend time with The King Fish on weekends instead of heading to a ballgame. We left the decision entirely up to them, and it was hard for the King Fish to be hands off and let that decision happen naturally. But he did, and I have to say as the mom who is the taxi driver around here... I am grateful for a break this spring. I think we all are. That doesn't mean we are without sports in 'our life.... we've been watching the NCAA basketball tournament. We all have our brackets. I won last year, we'll see if I can repeat!
Our women's Bible study is such a time of refreshment for me. I love that I am able to host it in my house while The King Fish is out of town. It's been such a blessing to study James. We literally get through about 2-3 verses a night. We go through the concordance and our cross references pulling the meaning and context together. It's amazing how fast the time goes by.
I could write a book.... but I'll stop now.
Here in the south it's going to be a beautiful weekend. I personally am planning to do a bit of shopping! Consignment and thrift store..... wahoo!
What are your plans for the weekend?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Swingset Remodel- Part 2- Building

These are a few photos of The King Fish teaching Jabber Jaw how to put the thing back together. As you can see our Small Fry was a lot younger at the time, and he’s looking on with interest.

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When will this thing ever get done?? Will I ever be able to swing and slide again?
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Here are a few photos of the guys rebuilding the “swing” side of the swingset. That was the side that was not even in the ground. That was the side that swayed precariously every time the kids got on a swing. The little clubhouse, and slide were in good shape, they just needed to be sanded and stained. You will probably see the new stain color in these photos. Its by Olympic and it’s a deck and fence stain. It’s called Monterey Grey. I wanted something subtle but something that looked more custom, since all the new bought swingsets out there are a type of red wood.
Anyway, in these photos The King Fish is installing this massive beam that he built! We had to get our neighbors to help out so the thing didn’t land on his head! I was safely away on our deck snapping pictures and closing my eyes during the scary parts!
Setting the beam—at least our slide was back assembled by this point.
beam install
I swear it looked like the ladder was tipping in these photos!
beam install2

That brings us up to the present. The entire swingset is miraculously stained the Monterey Grey color. We even have swings hanging. But we still have to add a rock climbing wall, safety handles, a climbing robe, steering wheels for our Small Fry who loves to pretend drive everywhere, a shade tarp over the clubhouse, and perhaps a telescope for our little adventurer. Unfortunately it has rained here all week, so that will not be happening for a couple of weekends. As soon as it’s finished I’ll post the before and after pictures and photos of all the cool accessories! One good thing is we purchased the extra heavy duty swing hardware and swings so even adults can swing on this set. Pretty awesome!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Joy of Boys

Last night we had some friends of the boys stay over. Their dad and mom were heading to the hospital very very early for surgery. To make the morning routine a little easier they asked if we could watch the boys for the night and throughout the next day. No problem! (As a side note these are friends who watched our boys while we headed to Russia on our court date trip....they blessed us tremendously!)

Anyway, last night after a watching Destroy Build Destroy (a total boys show), I sent all the boys up to bed. I had just put Small Fry down in his race car bed about 15 minutes earlier. Once everyone had brushed their teeth and gotten all PJ'd up... I had them come and sit on the beds in my boys room to pray.
Naturally before a prayer was even said there was a lot of talking. Lots of quick stories and questions....

Mrs. ____ , Have you ever skinned a fish?

Me:  Um, nope and I hope I never do! 

Mrs. _____ have your ever  used a BB gun?

Me:  Of course every woman ought to know how to shoot a BB Gun!  And a bow and arrow.  (You know since I'm so ancient living back in the days of the early settlers.  But apparently in my mind skinning a fish should not be in that skills set.)

Mrs. _____ I have a pocket knife.  Do your boys have pocket knives? 

Me:  Yes they do, and I try  not to think about that too much.

Mrs. ______  have you ever gone hunting? 

Me:  No, but my dad is a great hunter... I wonder if he ever wished I learned how to hunt.....

Mrs. _____ Do you remember when we went camping with your boys?  And Mr. _______  and my dad were cooking the fish over a fire....……  and this and that happened…… and it was so funny!

All this "boy" conversation naturally led me to ask the following question:

Me:  "Can anyone burp on command?"

Both friends could, and showed me how.  Naturally I had to show how I too could excel at such a task. My boys proudly told them how well their mother could belch if she had a can of soda in her hand.   (Aww... thanks guys... glad I make you proud.)

Tons of laughter and belching ensued.

And then I heard Small Fry and his little pipsqueak voice through the closed door across the hall.

"Boys Ki- yet."

"Boys Ki-yet!"

So, I walked across the hall and opened the door to his room. He was sitting up in his little race car bed, and asked:

"Mom, what boys doing? Tell them to be Ki-yet."

Completely bypassing the whole burping scenario, I matter of factly explained that we were getting ready to pray. (How very spiritual of me).   Would you like to come pray with us?, I asked.  He enthusiastically said "YES!". (What three year old wouldn't love the opportunity to hang with the big kids well past his bedtime?  Its a dream come true!)

So, across the hall we went.

Four boys sitting on beds across from each other, Small Fry in my lap. Heads bowed praying for their dad and mom, their dad's upcoming surgery and thanking God for the opportunity to have them stay with us. And then each one went  to their separate rooms, and climbed into bed.  Small Fry jumped into his race car bed and snuggled into his covers. 

One last "Goodnight everyone" ...... and all was quiet on the Southern front.

What a sweet moment....
For more Tuesdays Unwrapped… visit ChattingAtTheSky.com

Monday, March 8, 2010

Swing Set Rebuild … Part One Demolition

do it yourself 005
This is our old swing set.  It wasn’t too sturdy.
do it yourself 005-crop
See those cinderblocks on the right side.  The swing  set wasn’t even sitting on them anymore!  If my big guys decided to swing, the whole set would rock back and forth…. looking like the entire thing would tip at any moment.  I never let the neighborhood kids play on that thing….. it just was not safe!

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So, we began the demolition!  Everything was coming apart to be sanded and rebuilt.

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Even with a sling on his arm- Tiger Shark was a trooper!

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Check out the wood….. it’s lookin’ old.

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Tiger Shark –Day 2 – Sanding with his sling.

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Jabber Jaw- Taking out all the nuts and bolts.

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Everything down and disassembled.
Stay tuned… next up is the building portion of the swing set.  We needed the neighbors to come help on that one.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Transforming Love….

A scared little boy is placed in my arms, unsure of what his future holds.

Russia Dec Xmas 002

Timid and shy, he wonders who these people are… everything around him is different.


Deep within him is a wealth of emotion… some anger, some resentment, some fear…

Russia Dec Xmas 042

……but there is also a wealth of courage.

Small fry stairs

The courage to open his heart,


To begin to trust…

sf bunny

and to let love come in.

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And that love begins to transform…

Both him and me.

Misc October 021


For more moments unwrapped, visit Tuesdays Unwrapped at Chatting at the Sky

Beautiful Snow

Monday, March 1, 2010

Ta Da!!!

I guess I am finally ready to show off a little of the work I have been doing behind the scenes here at The Fabulous Fishbowl.   I have been quite literally obsessed with this project but in a good way!  Meaning I still managed to school my kids and get home cooked meals on the table.  I even managed to keep my house clean for a Bible study that meets here once a week.  No small feat let me tell you!  (Okay, Tiger Shark has been a big help in this area too!)  The King Fish has been so gracious and helpful to me in taking care of the kids on the weekend so I could finish this up!  He managed to do that and many of the much needed things on my “Things To Do at Home List”.  Even though he probably won’t read this… “Thank you honey!” 
There are a few areas on the new navigation bar that are still “Under Construction”.  
Mom Moments will be a place to find all posts about the moments we have as moms.  Good moments, ugly moments, funny moments, and poignant ones as well.  I  hope it will be a place where moms can be refreshed. 
DIY Design will be just like it says.  Some of our remodeling projects, both big and small.  A few ideas might come from something cool I have seen on another site.  I’ll be showing photos of our finished projects and linking back to those sites.  Some posts will just be inspirational photos that I come across to get my creativity flowing and my mind dreaming of future design projects. 
Finally Healthy Me. <sigh> This one I thought long and hard about.  The name says it all…. and I’ll wait to unwrap that package.  :-) 
I have to say I have truly enjoyed designing this!   (Even though some parts are still under construction). 
So take your time and look around.  I hope you like it!
Mama Fish
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