Saturday, September 30, 2006

Early Retirement

So, yesterday was my father-in-law's last day of a 30-year stint at Delphi in Kokomo. He got a badge holder, and they took away his WHAT is the point of the badge holder? Anyway, it's gotten me thinking. He said tonight that going through it seemed so long, but now that it is over, it seems like just yesterday when he began. I can see that the more I get older. In 7th grade, the school year lasted forever. Now I can blink and it's Christmas again. Then I get my Christmas props put away, and it's time to pack up for the summer. Every Sunday night, I think, "I just don't even want to go back..." I know I would miss the kids and I would miss a few colleagues, but for the most part, I could handle it. I used to say that I could NEVER be a stay-at-home mom because it would drive me up the wall. I have to admit, though, it's starting to look better and better. I wish I had a gob with some flexibility, where I could set my own hours, make time for my kids - to go on a field trip, take them to school and not send them off for someone else to do that, pick them up for school and be able to be the FIRST one to ask them how their days were, not have to leave for work before the sun has even begun to wipe the sleep from its eyes....I really think what is best for me is a job with flexibility. I want so badly to be full time at the church. I never would have thought that in college or in high school. When I was asked, I wanted to teach high school choir. That was always my thought. Never second-guessed it. Now that I really cannot do that because of my family life, the one thing that gives me the greatest joy is working in the music ministry at my church. I know I can't quit my teaching job, or I would certainly by dooming my family for bankrupcy within about 2 months.

I just don't want to look back at the end of 30 years and with my badge holder and say, "I wish I could have done more with my kids and been more active with them" or "It went by so quickly....I should have been able to do this or do that...for Chad or for the boys..."

With the way the schools are headed in Indiana, I don't see that I could stay sane and do this for another 20+ years.

Sunday night, I'll go to bed thinking I'd rather be able to wake up with my boys in the morning and get them a nice breakfast and clean the house and take my own kids to school and...and Friday afternoon, I'll say, "Is it Friday ALREADY?"

So anyway, I think I want to retire from teaching early...say like 20 years early. I really hope God opens the doors for me to be able to do that. I used to think I needed to do that to fulfill what I NEEDED to be. Now I think I need to do things that will allow me to be a part of what my family NEEDS to be instead. I'm not so sure that working for a public school is it. I know I have to make money. It's just a little discouraging when 1/2 of the income goes DIRECTLY to makes me feel like maybe we COULD do it if I didn't work...I mean, after all 1/2 is out the door from the beginning.

I know this was rambling on and very unorganized in is just something that has been weighing heavily on me for about 6 or 7 months.

God, give me Your direction. Open doors that are okay for me to walk through. Help me not to lose sight of Your will for me and my family. If I have already, please show me that I am wrong to feel this way. God, I need to feel secure, and I need to know that I am doing what is best for my little guys. Show me the way. Show me how to juggle everything in my current situation and not drop the ball for them. I want to know You more. Renew my passion for teaching, if that is where You want me to be. Thank You for Your faithfulness. God, I love You. Amen.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Happy Halloween!!!

I know it's wrong, but sometimes I just can't help but pass these along...Can you imagine actually DOING that to yourself??!!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Kids say the darnedest things...and back talk

On the way to the babysitter's this morning, Drew and Evan started singing songs they are learning in preschool. After their songlist was nearly expired, they busted out a hardy version of The Pledge of Allegiance with gusto. Drew's version goes like this:

I pledge to Regis to the flag United States Amerita from which it stands under God, indibisitor with justice all.

We don't even watch Regis! :) Promise!

Evan's version goes like this:

I pledge allegiance to the flag United States to Amerita, and to the rebulic which it stands under indisible and livety, justice for all.

I love it....

A prayer request for you: Chad has been having some severe back pain for months, and this week, he has been unable to stand straight or sit straight in a chair. After the initial doctor's visit and xrays, they called him today to tell him he has 1. Arthritis 2. Degenerative Disk Disease 3. Disk Narrowing. The options at this point, according to the first doctor are 1. Back surgery 2. a series of shots in the spine for therapy.

None of these are good news. He is supposed to see a specialist next and go from there. Please pray that there is something else they can do INSTEAD or that it will go away, miraculously!

As a side note: we paid off all medical bills Monday. (Very funny, God!)

Monday, September 25, 2006

My celeb look-alikes

Whew! I'm SURE glad Chubaka wasn't on there....although I'm a little baffled by Florence Henderson! Maybe it's because I am close to having a Brady Bunch of my own....

Thank you, Auds, for the little bit 'o' fun tonight!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Warning to 1st graders around the world...

You've heard the old "If you don't stop making your face like that, it's going to stick that way..." Well, here's a variation for you.... Beware 1st graders around the world!

Bully Update 2 after the kicking in the face incident, I called the teacher. It must have been Wednesday morning. Luke's teacher said I wasn't the first parent to call about this child. I assured her that I would not be one of "those" parents that called about everything because, as a teacher, I know she can't see everything at one time...

Well, on Wednesday night, my sister-in-law asked if anything new had happened. I explained briefly and in "code" because all the kids were around... :) (You know that adult code we use...) She said, "Just to warn you, my kids invited those two kids (meaning the bully and the brother) to church tonight." I told her I'd be fine. I'm a teacher. I see this all the time, right?

So it gets time for worship and we are waiting on the sound man and powerpoint guy to finish tweaking. We have about 2 minutes, so I walked off the stage and up the child to cover their eyes with my hands. I whispered down next to the right ear, "Hello, do you know who this is?" The child froze. All the other kids at the table knew what was going on. They knew Luke had trouble at school. Luke was grinning from ear to ear! I uncovered the eyes and leaned down around so that I could be seen. I whispered, "I know what you have done at school during recess to Luke. Don't you think it is a little mean? (shakes head yes) Do you think you could be a big kid since you are now in kindergarten and treat Luke like Jesus treats him? (shakes head yes again) I would be sooooo proud of you if you did that." That's all I said. I stood upright, looked at the kids at the table and made some general comment like, "You guys ready to sing? I picked some songs I'm going to need you to sing REALLY loud on because I know you know them and not everyone in here does. Can you help me with that?" blah blah blah...

Then I patted the bully on the back and said, "I'm so glad you came tonight." Inside, I was screaming, "LEAVE MY LUKE ALONE! HE'S TWICE YOUR SIZE AND COULD KNOCK YOU FLAT ON YOUR BUTT! HE PRACTICES ON HIS BROTHERS EVERY DAY!" But I practiced a little of that self-control that Luke has shown me through this.

Two days later, I'm happy to report Luke has had no incidents at recess. Thank You, God! I'm sure this is the first of many times I will want to spank someone else's kids.... HA!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

at the end

At the end of the day when they are tucked in bed
Will they remember the words I said?
Will they be responsible little boys
And remember to pick up all their toys?

Will they distinguish between right and wrong
While that bully at school stands so strong?
Will they be able to stand up and fight?
To make it their goal to use His might?

At the end, will God say "Well done?"
Will He see me from afar, smile, and run?
Have I taught them well, have I done my part
To make them men after Your own heart?

When he drives away for the very first time,
When he gives her that ring with the luster and shine,
When he must make a choice between heaven or hell
Will he focus on victories or the times when he fell?

And at the end of my time when I walk the line...

Will I distinguish between right and wrong
While that temptation I face stands so strong?
Will I be able to stand up and fight?
To make it my goal to use His might?

At the end, will God say "Well done?"
Will He see me from afar, smile, and run?
Have I taught them well, have I done my part?
To make them men after Your own heart.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Bully update

My son's bully kicked him in the face today. No marks or bruises or scratches, but mommy has sat by long enough. Tomorrow I am going to call the teacher....calmly. I know she can't see everything all the time. I sure can't....

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Time for the random....

So...I think it is time for some random thoughts about the life of a Monize....

1. My dog barks for no reason. What is it about them that makes them bark when no one is at the door, no one is outside walking, no one is around at all? They can awaken from a dead sleep and bark their fool heads off...just to make you crazy.

2. My mom is a great person. She comes from great people. As far as parents and grandparents go, I come from some pretty good ones, if I do say so myself. If there was ever a time I just needed to talk to my mommy :) - today was it, and it was nice.

3. Can 30 year olds still say "mommy" and not look pathetic?

4. Israel Houghton and New Breed is my new favorite worship experience. I love it. Thank you to the great folks in Maryland for opening my eyes. I can't get enough....

5. I love working for my church. I think aside from being a part of my children's laughter, it is the greatest thing I have ever done. Even when it's a struggle and people frustrate you, and even when I feel inadequate or frustrated, it is the single-most amazing thing I have ever had the privilege to be a part of.

6. If you ever have a birthday party at Hacienda, I HIGHLY recommend the birthday cake. It's a chocolate mousse/cake/thing...whatever it was, it was YUMMY.

7. I love Lori. She's like one of the best friends ever. I wish she was around here....I like the way she always makes me feel like I have not been forgotten.

8. As far as service departments go, I cannot -with good conscience - recommend Best Buy. Sorry....HOWEVER, their technician, George - a balding, pushing-50, jolly man - is one the nicest and sincere people I have met...the people on the phone??? I could do without.

9. Sitting alone in the dark sounds creepy...but it is truly therapeutic.

10. My favorite book of the Bible is probably Proverbs or Psalms. It's a toss-up.

11. Grey's Anatomy season premiere is Thursday...that will be nice. Lost is coming soon! That will be fantastic.

12. I think my favorite superhero is Batman. Me and Drew are two peas in a pod.

13. Gabriel is pleasant. He's happy. He's goofy. He's wonderful. He's a great gift. Who knew that a pregnancy that was met with so much worry and anxiety could bring such a beautiful and wonderful little boy? He was appropriately named.

14. Luke is so tender. He is being bullied by a classmate at kindergarten, and when I ask him why he doesn't ask the classmate to stop pulling his pants down and kicking him between the legs and calling him a "doofus," he says it's because he doesn't want to be mean....he just walks away. I think I could learn from his self-control.

15. Evan is non-stop. That's really all I can say about this season in his life. It's not as if he is overactive. He's just non-stop. Well, his MOUTH is...he talks constantly. And if there is nothing to say, he starts repeating what others around him are saying...just to be saying something. Here comes the ol' "X-in-the-'refrains-from-needless-talking'-box" - he's a chip off the ol' me.

16. Chad's a good daddy. He has found a lot of ways to spend time with his boys this summer, and I have been impressed with his new-found patience.

17. Gabriel is not asleep. He's been in his bed quietly listening to Israel Houghton with me from his room...every once in a while, I hear him try to mimic the song or coo something. It's been more than an hour.

18. Some really cool lyrics, you ask? I just so happen to be listening to a very cool you go...

I'm not a man/ I cannot lie/ I know the plans for your life/ I'm asking you to dream again/ To believe again and take the limits off of Me/ I'm not a man/ I cannot lie/ I know the plans/ They're My design/ I'm asking you to hope again/ And trust again and take the limits off of Me/ All I'm asking is take the limits off/ Take the limits off/ Release Me to accomplish what I promised to do/ Take the limits off/ Take the limits off/ No limits/ No boundaries/ I see increase all around me/ Stretch forth break forth/ Release me/ Enlarge my territory/ Ask for rain it's time for rain/ Ask for favor/ My favor is falling....

19. Is there anything too difficult for the Lord? You will have increase...that job is not too hard, that building is not too hard, that promise that God gave you years ago is not too hard. What God promsed? It's mine. What God said? It's mine. This is the season of increase....It's a new day!

Luke with Kindergarten Buddy!

This is Luke and his friend, Zach. Zach goes to kindergarten with Luke and church with us. Zach's family was with us on the camping trip over Labor Day weekend.

Friday, September 15, 2006

reality check

One of my little 2nd graders came up to me a few minutes ago and said, "Mrs. Montize," (he says it wrong...has been ever since 1st grade) "I am doing my very best today." I said, "I know you have, Sweetheart. I can tell. You have been paying attention and following directions. I am proud of you." He answered with, "Yeah. You know why? My mom is coming home tonight!" Completely unaware, I said, "That's great! Where has she been?" I was expecting an answer like a business trip or grandma's house or maybe even the hospital....but I got this: Dylan put his eyes down and said really softly, "Prison."

Instant reality check and lump in my throat.

As cheerfully as I could, I said, "Oh honey, that is wonderful. I bet you are really happy! She's going to be so proud of you when you tell her that you were so good in music today." He then proceeded to tell me that she had been gone since (are you ready for this???) his 7th birthday. She was actually put there ON his birthday.

Upon further investigation, I found out that last school year, his dad was in prison as well...but he is home now.

My heart breaks for these little ones.

Their kitchen floor may be soggy (see previous post), but their father and I are still living with them and married and they have clothes and food and a church family and fantastic grandparents/ kids are fortunate...even living in a tiny bedroom that doesn't hold all their toys and clothes...even without a big backyard to play in...

Thank You, God, for my current situation...that my children are well-dressed and well-fed, and that I can be with them.


I was gone yesterday from school because of the washer ordeal and stuff, today I found out after school that one of the teachers that works here with me delivered her baby about 4 months early, and he was stillborn.

Father, forgive me when I am ungrateful.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Go to Lowe's

Well, the neverending saga of misfortune is still running full gear at the Monize Homestead.

Our washer and dryer are brand new, as of Feb. 24, 2006. I know this date because it has been told to me so many times in the past 2 weeks, it's ridiculous. It was a week ago on Monday night that I was doing my evening ritual of laundry. With six people in a house, it is very important that I do at least two loads a day to keep up. I usually do one load in the morning and one load in the evening. As we were getting ready to wind down the evening, we noticed the flood of water from the washer in the kitchen. We got all the mess that we could, and I said that the following day (Tuesday), I would call Best Buy. After all, the washer IS under warranty. When I called I was slightly disappointed that they said the soonest they could have it serviced was last Saturday. That meant 5 days without being able to do you can see, that was about 10 loads I would be behind. Besides the fact that we would be swimming in dirty towells and other clothes, I was very upset that I could not get the carpet cleaned in that room until after Saturday.

We managed, and on Saturday, the technician called when he said he would, he showed up 15 minutes early. Things were going ok. He watched it run without clothes, and there wasn't a single drop of water. So, he laid on my wet floor with the front panel off the bottom of the washer and watched a load of clothes from beginning to end. No drips anywhere. He decided after looking at my detergent that it was because I was using a cap full of detergent. (Heaven forbid! Apparently the cap is for aesthetics only, because when you have a high effeciency washing machine, you really only need 1/2 a cap. And in my case, since I have All 3X Concentrated, I was instructed to use just 1/3 of the cap.) So all was well, and he went on his way at no cost to me.

I started catching up on the loads and loads of dirty clothes. It was about 1 PM. At 8 PM, Chad walked through the kitchen, that I have since dubbed Best Buy Creek. It had leaked again, and so I immediately called Best Buy. They said there was no way they could have any technician to my house until today, Thursday. UGH! 5 more days!!!!!! With what I had done that day, that means I would be approximately 12 - 13 loads of laundry behind AGAIN!!! I was NOT happy, but what could I do?

That night, while Chad and I laid in bed, I heard something, and thought it sounded like water running. I asked Chad if he had turned on the washer before he went to bed. I was amazed that he would after all this...he answered that he hadn't. I walked out, and there were suds all over the room. The creek was on the rise! I was very upset. Not only was the floor getting soaked for a third time, I could NOT get the washer to stop, turn off, or the door to open!! It was possessed. Chad unplugged it, but that locked the door with the clothes that were still in it from the first flood - I guess I had forgotten about them. So the next morning, I cautiously plugged it back in and got the door unlocked. Those clothes are now dry. So much for the too-much-detergent theory.

Now it was Sunday, and I was kind of out of luck. We were getting ready for church, and after I showered, Chad jumped in. When we were done, I was in front of the mirror or something and Chad asked what that was by the toilet, had the kids spilled a drink? No. They hadn't had breakfast or any red drink for a long time. Red drinks are evil. Well, their staining power is...It literally looked like something of blood's consistency and COLOR was oozing from the base of the toilet. Remember from the previous posts that EVERYTHING in there is brand new!!!! This has since happened one more time, and we don't know what it is...but it REALLY does look like a horror movie is happening in there...back to the washer.

Well, as unhappy as I was, I took today off work and waited. The technician was supposed to call between 7 and 9 AM. No call. I called in. He was supposed to call back. There was some kind of note in the system that he may not be able to keep the appointment, but they would get to the bottom of it and call me back. 3 PM. No call back. I called...I was furious. I had taken a day off work. Now they were saying they didn't know where the technician was and that they weren't sure he could make it at all but that he had an opening on SATURDAY!!! I told them I wasn't changing my plans again because of their irresponsibility and lack of communication. In the mean time, my kitchen floor is not fixed and we PROBABLY will have water damage. We are getting a $100 gift card from Best Buy, but that is a drop in the bucket if the kitchen floor rots out...not to mention the smell of mildew and mold in the house. Safe, huh? I am so angry with Best Buy right now.

My advice? Go to Lowe's. In the mean time, I am borrowing several people's washers and dryers tonight to try to get some stuff done. Well...there was the buzzer. Time to start another load.

Friday, September 08, 2006


Today I went to pick up the kids from the babysitter's after school, and when I got there, all three of my youngest and one other little girl were completely enthralled with something on the porch. They didn't notice me pull up the 1/4 mile drive way, didn't hear me jammin' to Israel Houghton, didn't hear me get out of the car or walk I just listened to them talk for a while. Isn't it great to listen in on childhood conversations when they don't know you are there...especially while they are so innocent? So it went kind of like this:

Gabriel: Touches something I can't see on the side of the porch. Squeals in delight after drawing his finger back really quickly.
Evan: It's soft! And fuzzy!
Drew: This one is a bid (big) one. He's orange. I love him.
Evan: Yeah, this one is bidder (bigger) than the baby one over there.
Delaney (the little girl at the sitter's): Let me touch him again!
Gabriel: Touches it again and turns and grins at Evan with a huge cheesy smile.
Evan: When my mommy dets (gets) here, I am dowing (going) to ast (ask) her if I tan (can) teep (keep) him.
Drew: Yeah! My want to teep him, too!
Gabriel: Tapilwa! Squeal
Delaney sees me, and shows Evan.
Evan: MOMMY!! Tan we teep him??? PLEASE?!?!
Drew: Yeah! Mom! Pwease?
Gabriel: MOMMY!!

When Gabriel called out for me, he got up, and I could see that all this excitement and wonder had been over a very fuzzy orange catepillar...who was really booking it to escape them. After explaining that the catepillar needed to live outside because that's where his food was, etc, I told them it was time to go get in the van. Realizing that Delaney would still be left behind on the porch, as we began to walk away Drew turned back around and said:

Drew: Laney, tan (can) you tate (take) tare (care) of my tatepillar when I am gone, please?

There was something so innocent and sweet about his question. Kids. They are so great. After Delaney said she would, Evan turned back around and ran back to her, because at this point we had gotten 2/3 the way to the van. He hugged her and said, "Thank you!" I love it....I wish I could bottle up that innocence and "teep" it forever.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Time for a picture update!!!!!

This was at Luke, Drew, and Evan's birthday party. Their friend, Taylor, is behind Luke. Notice they are sporting their alter egos on their shirts. When they play, they use superhero names. If you ask them ANYTHING about what they want for gifts or how they are going to play, the answers are ALWAYS about these 3 superheroes!

Luke's first day of Kindergarten. You can feel the excitement, can't ya!!??

For his birthday, Luke wanted a guitar, and Daddy had to oblige! :) Luke can already play a few chords, like E and A...and if you know ANYTHING about guitar playing, what else do you need besides E and A??? :)

This is Gabriel with his "security banana." By the time he dinally gave up on it, it was definitely dirty and blackened. He curled up with it and fell asleep!

Our picnic table.

More "security banana."

Our tent. The front has a "screened-in" area. There are two rooms in the back.

This was one Sunday on the way to church. Drew is the twin leaning up. Evan is in yellow. Gabriel in white and Luke in orange.

They are pretty cute, if I do say so myself!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Separation of Church and State

PLEASE go to and read the latest's great ammunition the next time the debate comes up!

A-camping we will go....

It happens EVERY year. It's not like I thought I would escape the millions and billions of germs that goes with the elementary school teacher's day. And there are those teachers who won't give out hugs and freely show affection, but that's not me! I am a different person in that building. It's part of what I have grown to like about me in the past year, and the beginning of the school year has been a God'send because I have been reminded that I LIKE seeing those little guys and girls with their new shiny shoes and backpacks and haircuts for back to school! And I love that they remember me from last year and that I am not the "new" teacher there anymore. They all have rushed to say hello and hug me, and I have welcomed their embrace...and their germs.

We paid for our camp site last May. We knew all summer this day would come. Last Thursday, I went to school like any other day, and as the day progressed, I felt achy, chilly, icky...Thursday night, full-blown fever and head cold with a developing cough. I was unable to get medicine for any relief until Friday. I called in for a sub Friday morning, and slept in as long as my children allowed. I reluctantly left the comfort and familiarity of my bed and took a shower. Funny how even on days where you feel like I did last Friday, a shower REALLY helps your outlook. After the shower, I took the three youngest children to the babysitter. Why subject them to my germs? or Why be a bad mommy - I felt CRAPPY, shower or not...

Luke and I headed in to town to grab some medicine. We also got some supplies for the camping trip. I assumed that after paying all the money we paid in May, Chad would at least go...even if he left Gabriel with me. Chad called me and said I better call our friends (the camping trip was a church outing) and let them know we wouldn't be there. I wasn't about to let the money go to waste!

So I doped myself up and had a pretty decent weekend. Luke ended up with a cold, but it's really inevetible. In our house, if one gets it, at least 4 more will!

The most irritating things about the past week:
1. Buying cold medicine is almost as painstakingly tedious as buying a house. "Sign here...picture i.d......blood type....first born..." I was REALLY upset when my medicine had almost run out and Luke needed some and they almost wouldn't sell me an ADULT and a CHILDREN'S package at the same time. I about let the lady behind the counter have it! (I know it's not her fault, but this is a dumb law....all it has done is make the meth-lab-idiots drive around town and make 15 stops instead of 1...and for those of us with large families and/or children, the process has just become comparable to a visit to the dentist after just stopping by the BMV!)

2. One of the other camping families came up just for 1 night and shared our site. Their daughter brought a friend. She had recently, unbeknownst to my friends sharing the site, been diagnosed with a sleeping disorder and acid reflux disease. Well, the SAME night Luke's cold was flaring, this girl woke up 4 separate times SCREAMING in a CAMP GROUND at the top of her lungs, "HELP ME!! HELP ME!!!" over and over! One time she even tried to get in our tent. That was NOT a good night. When our friends finally called her parents, her dad told them that she had just been given those diagnoses. NICE! Here's a clue: If your son or daughter had been having trouble sleeping at night and screaming at the top of his/her lungs blood-curdling blurbs about needing help, wouldn't you at least tell the other parents if they were going to take your kid for a night??? OR (here's a thought) say NO when asked if your son or daughter could go on a camping trip???? I mean after all, it doesn't fair well in the dead of night at a CAMP GROUND of all places to hear "Help me! Help me!" from an obviously young girl's voice ringing out over the park! I was sure we were going to jail.

HOWEVER, I am getting better at this camping thing...and I am learning to appreciate the time with the family - regardless of how it's done.

Drew and Evan begin preschool tomorrow!!! They are excited! I am dressing them alike! :) I love doing that! It won't be long until Miss Tina (their teacher) will be able to tell them apart, but for the first day, let's be stinkers and dress them the same! It's part of my reward of having them, after all!