Thursday, December 11, 2008

Finally Decorating

Well, we are finally decorating.  It was a tug-of-war around here for a couple of days.  The kids really wanted to, and Scott and I really did not.  There's really no reason for our Grinchy attitude this year.   It's just that we finally had to decide to decorate, regardless of how we felt. 

We'll put up pictures as we take them.  And I'm certain that as time goes on, Scott and I will join the kids in the holiday merriment.  

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Pleasantly Exhausted

Well, after being introduced to the Twilight series 10 days ago, I thought I would share some crazy stats. 

I read Twilight in one sitting, finishing at 3 am last Sunday morning.  I couldn't put the book down.  Then, Scotty read Twilight on Monday in one sitting from 9 am to 8 pm -- even forgetting to eat.  

We went to see the movie for the first time on Thursday evening -- paying FULL PRICE at the theater.  

I picked up two copies of the second book, New Moon, on Friday so Scott and I could read at the same time.  I finished that evening, Scotty finished Saturday evening, devouring 350 pages of the book while at work.  (He actually managed to speed read!)  

We saw the movie for a second time on Sunday night -- again full price.  But we did forgo popcorn both times, which is usually a must for me.  

Then we went to the movie AGAIN last night with Jenna and Aaron -- they bought the popcorn.

I came home and began reading Eclipse, book three in the series, around 10:45 pm and due to crazy kids night-time-activities (namely from Abigail, Keats & Aidan), I actually finished the book at about 5:30 am.  I was already up, so I grabbed the final book in the series, Breaking Dawn, and just polished it off 30 minutes ago.  16 hours of mostly reading -- I haven't done that since our honeymoon!

If you haven't read these books yet - you really should.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A Big Curl

There Was a Little Girl
There was a little Girl,
Who had a little curl,
Right in the middle of her forehead.

And when she was good,
She was very good indeed,
And when she was bad, she was horrid.

-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The history of the poem:
Longfellow's second son Ernest says of this poem:  "It was while walking up and down with his second daughter, Alice, then a baby in his arms, that my father composed and sang to her the well-known lines."

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Just a Moment

I am literally waiting for the washing machine to kick off so I can throw in another load and go to bed.  I am looking forward to scrubbing my face, brushing my teeth, and snuggling into the memory foam.  I thought I would share some of my favorite moments from today.

Keats emerged from the bathroom at a friend's house with his jeans pulled back up perfectly backwards.

Adian adopted a new "Indiana Jones Hat" for winter -- it's fleece -- which was given to him at the same friend's home.  But upon seeing his beloved Indiana Jones Hat sitting here at home, he threw the imposter aside, grabbed the original, settled it upon his head, and sighed contentedly saying, "Now that feels right."  (The "Indian Jones Hat" is a vintage felt hat with a small brim which struck Aidan as being exactly like Indiana Jones' fedora.  He wears is almost always.)

Okay - Laundry is done.  I'll continue the list later.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Leaves and Snow

The view outside our front door this morning:

The view just a few weeks ago in the Miles' front yard:

Quite the change!  Ooohhhh, I just love winter!

Keats and Aidan have been wearing their hats ever since the first flakes began falling. Somewhere along the line, they got the idea that if it's snowing, then hats must be worn inside or out.  It is just too fun!  They are fully aware of Santa Claus coming for the first time this year, so each day they ask "Santa Claus coming too-night?"  

Meanwhile, Abigail finds the snow absolutely fascinating.   We continuously find her feet peeping out from beneath the back sliding door curtain.  She will stand there for 30 minutes at a time with her wee hands pressed against the glass, her nosed shmushed into the pane, and her eyes twinkling.  I don't think there is anything I enjoy more than watching little ones making new discoveries.

Shelby, Dawson, Isabelle, and Tucker are just very ready for there to be enough snow to break the sleds out of the attic-prison.  And we have promised that we will wax the toboggan this year so that it actually works.  (We never knew it needed wax.  The first year we tried to use it, it moved down the hill two inches.  Max.)  And so, Tucker asks regularly if I have "bought that wax stuff yet."

Scotty always calls Halloween the "beginning of the holiday gauntlet."  And yes, it does get a little crazy as we try and make room for everything we want to do, but I do love watching the sparkling eyes, hearing the stories that start with "Remember the time we . . ." and smelling the holiday perfume: wood smoke, baking, and wet wool.  It's just magical.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Oh, How I Love Electricity!

Tuesday night, Nov. 18,  I tucked the kids into bed, came downstairs to do our daily tidy, and then snuggled into my warm bed with the electric blanket to read my newest book - Square Foot Gardening.  

(Side note on the book: it's very inspiring --  I think we're going to give it a try next year.  And Dawson, who is such a farmer at heart, is thrilled.   If I could have aimed a camera just so in order to capture the instantaneous twinkle in his eye when I was telling him about it today, it would have been a truly amazing picture.)

Anyway, I heard soft footsteps around 11:45 pm (I'm telling you - it's a good book!) followed by a gentle turning of my doorknob.  Aidan's head peeped around the door complete with slightly tousled hair, droopy eyes, and a shmushed face from someone who was just in a deep sleep.

"Mummy.  It's dark in there."
"Okay, buddy.  I'll fix it."

Figuring either Tucker or Keats had turned of the nightlight (it's happened before), I purposefully strode into the hallway to flip the light on.  Nothing.  Then I tried the bathroom light.  Nothing.  I peered down the stairs -- very dark with no sign of the "night lights" we keep on to navigate the house during the late night hours.  (Let's face it, if you have little ones you're going to do some night wanderings.  I would rather have a tiny night light on "just in case" than blind myself at 3 am from flipping on lights since I'm still too chicken to walk through the dark.)

I snuggled Aidan in my bed since our room still had lights, TV, and everything running as normal.  I went downstairs to check the fuse box.  No change.

I went back upstairs and called Scott, who was currently on duty in the MICU.  I let him know what was going on and asked if he would be able to contact our landlord on the way home in the morning.  Some of the nurses working with him suggested calling Met-Ed, our electric company, during his next break.  They all assured us issues like this are almost always the power companies fault.  Scott offered to call Met-Ed while I took care of Aidan and now Keats, who appeared around the door with a "Mommy, Aidan is lost."   Of course, upon spying Aidan on the bed, Keatsy squealed, "Oh! You're not lost Aidan!  You're here.  I'm coming up, too."  

Scott called back a little later to let me know that Met-Ed would be coming by in order to investigate the lines.  At that moment, the lights came back on with a crazy, manic brightness. Before I could say "Hey!" they dimmed way down to less than night-light power.  Crazy.  So, anyway, Met-Ed told Scott they might need to see inside the house, and then again,  they might not.  He encouraged me to go back to sleep and just listen for a knock at the door.  Uh, sure.  A few moments after he said that, Tucker's face appeared around the doorway and he said, "Hey mom?  There's something weird going on out there.  I'm going to hang out with you guys."  Now, there were three little Rutherford's snuggled in my bed.

I decided to call Ryan and Laura since they live on the west coast.  I figured it might be 2:30 here, but 11:30 there shouldn't be too late for a crazy couple, don't you think?  Well, I didn't think about the fact that they can do the math and thus, scared them to death since it really isn't common for me to call in the wee hours of the morning.  After the  explanations, etc,  we settled down for a late winter's chat since I knew I needed to be awake for the Met-Ed guy.  

About 45 minutes later (for those who have lost track of the time, it's now 3:15 am), I heard the Met-Ed truck arrive in all it's flashing-lights glory.  My thoughts?  "Yikes.  The neighbors are sure going to love that!"  Sure enough, there was a soft tapping at the door ( like I would have heard that if I were asleep) which was followed by 60 minutes of in and out of our home as the line-man tried to figure out exactly where the problem was.  Meanwhile, the three little Rutherfords have tumbled out of their -- er, rather, my bed -- and are following the lineman everywhere, peppering questions all the way.   After some experiments and night wanderings to every GFI in the house, it was determined it was ours to fix.  Lovely.  Isn't this where we started?  Lots of technical info followed about outside breakers, two lines, neutralizing lines, and corrosion.  But the end result was the same.  We were back to where we started.  

Now, it is 4:15 am.  I took my three little men up the stairs to call their father back to let him know that I still needed him to call our landlord on his way home, which was what I had thought should be done back around midnight.  So, I tucked the three little Rutherford's into their beds with a Mag Light as a night light and crawled back into my bed.  

Needless to say, the electrician had our outside breaker replaced within 2 hours the next morning and our power has been wonderfully dependable ever since.  

I do love electricity.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


I will be honest and say that I am sitting here in front of the computer with the children's huge (still)  basket of Halloween candy and I am digging through it from time to time to see if any chocolate remains.  It's yummy, I am enjoying it, and I only feel a smidge guilty for consuming sugar after sundown.  The kiddos gave Scott and I full blessings on eating their treasure trove, so I'm completely innocent of any and all charges of theft.

I woke up this morning at 5:30 am.  Now, in the interest of honesty, I should say that my goal for months has been to wake up at 5:30 am.  I set my alarm and I truly commit to actually getting out of bed the next morning.  I remind myself of how much more cheerful I am if I wake up to a silent household, how much more productive my days are, how nice it is to greet Scott when he comes in from work rather than dragging myself out of bed as he is sliding in.  But, each and every morning, my weak flesh has won out.  (Ohhh - my favorite kind of Twizzlers.The pull-and-peel ones.  Yum.)

So it was truly a stunning turn of events to have succeeded in actually waking up when I would like to this morning.  And, to be honest, I owe my new resolve to some rodent that either was attempting to get into our home or actually made it in and is now trapped in the walls.  All I know for certain is that a large-sounding-something awakened me at 5:30 on the dot with its manic scratching and what can only be described as a chewing noise.  My bets are on a squirrel, but it could be a rat.  Eeewww.   Scott never once heard it as he was sleeping today.  But, to be honest, Scott never hears anything while he's sleeping.  That is why his working night-shift is so perfect for us.  He sleeps through the sound we make living during the day, and I don't get offended that the kids only seem to be able to wake me up at night.  Why get offended when he isn't even here?  (I just grabbed a Whoppers in a desperate bid for chocolate.  I'm not a big fan of the Whoppers.  I think the malted part is kind of yicky.)  

I popped into our bedroom throughout the day and never heard my little friend again.  I inspected the outside of the house as well as I could with my feet planted firmly on the ground.  (Let's be honest - life is challenging enough without broken legs, wouldn't you agree?)  I went into the attic and didn't detect any new shufflings in our loose insulation.  So, perhaps it was a friendly little alarm clock sent by God to truly motivate me.  Because, honestly, I needed the motivation.  There is nothing like unexpected scratching in an otherwise quiet home when you are alone with your children to make you wake up quickly, efficiently, and thoroughly.   (I've moved over to Tootsie Rolls.  I'm getting desperate.  Companies have effectively delivered pizza, pasta, sandwiches, wings, and Chinese for decades.  Why can't they deliver chocolate?)

So, only tonight will decide if our the invader was a one time visitor or if he's here for a while.  Of course, if he's a squatter, then he'll have to go.  But if it was just a friendly little wake-up call, then I'm grateful.  And today, exactly how I had always discussed it in my head before going to sleep would happen,  went beautifully.  Honestly.

And, on a wonderful side note: Nox visits the vet tomorrow.  Snip-snip.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Shelby's Musings


I am going to tell you about my life. 

First I'm the oldest of the 7 kids.  I'm 12,  and I will be 13 on March 15.

I am on swim team and my strongest stroke is butterfly.  My weakest stroke is breast-stroke because my legs aren't flexible enough yet.  I need to train my legs so that I can swim the breast-stroke faster.  Our team name  is THE CRESTWOOD BARRACUDAS.  My brother, Dawson, and my sister, Isabelle, are both on the swim team with me.  Tucker is very excited because he will be on the swim team this summer.  Dawson, Isabelle, and I are also on the dive team for Crestwood.  Tucker is planning on going on the dive team, too.  I can't wait for summer to come! 

My favorite books are Nancy Drew and Harry Potter.  I enjoy reading Nancy Drew because they are mystery stories.   In order to read all of the Nancy Drew stories, I own some of the books, borrow some of them from friends, and check others out of the library.   I like the Harry Potter Series because I like how the author, JK Rowling, has humor and seriousness at the same time.  I also enjoy the adventures between Harry, Ron, and Hermione.  I like to read the Harry Potter books, listen to them being read aloud as a family, and listen to the Harry Potter on audio book read by Jim Dale.  

My favorite music is "High School Musical" 1, 2, and 3, "WOW Hits Christian Music," and "Hannah Montana."  Most of the songs I listen to are songs any girl would like.  

I love to take pictures with my camera.  My Uncle Ryan gave me my first digital camera as my gift when I turned 10.  I prefer to take nature pictures as well as pictures of animals and my family.  I have even entered contests using pictures I took of my family.  The picture of the rose I took in Hot Springs, Arkansas at the Gavin Woodland Gardens.  This is the photograph I am most proud of.

My favorite animal is a horse.  I would love to live on a ranch some day. 

I love to go camping.  My favorite camping places are Locust Lake, Pennsylvania and Assateague Island, Maryland.  When we camp, we use a 10-man, red and black Columbia tent with two rooms.  It is huge!  It smells like campfire smoke, which I really like.  We usually camp in the spring and fall because it's the right temperature and no mosquitos.

You now know me, Shelby. :)

Nox the Turd

The list of items Nox has rendered unusable since he joined our home:

- 2 extra-large dog beds which the children used for reading in the book nook:  $80 
- 4 throw pillows which were also in the book nook:  $30 
- 1 twin mattress: $150
- Dawson's favorite stuffed dog's nose: nominal monetary cost, large treasured loss
- 1  large bag of feline pine which he systematically dropped into the toilet overnight : $15
- 1 cost of labor for snaking the toilet:  free, but only because we already own a toilet snake (I mentioned 4 boys, remember?)
- 18 farm-fresh eggs which he knocked over jumping into the refrigerator: $3
- 2 sections of installed carpet on the stairway: estimated cost of $40

The list of required changes in human behavior since Nox became the house Dictator:

- No long goodbyes at the front door unless you desire to spend several minutes searching the bushes in order to locate Nox.
- Nox Duty is an assigned chore when the entire family is either leaving or entering the home.   The assigned Rutherford guards the door with a water bottle, same as the troops guard barbed wire fences.
- Bedroom doors are now kept closed at all times (due to the mattress incident.)
- No piles of any sort may be left anywhere.  You do remember there are 9 of us, right?
- The litter box must be emptied each day due to his highness's preferences.  His displeasure in dereliction of this duty may be found in  piles throughout the house.
- Water must also be changed daily.
- Post-children in bed snacking for the former rulers of this kingdom must be done in a guarded fashion to keep the Dictator from stealing right off our plates.  Especially cheese nachos.

The increase in children's laughter since Nox joined our home:

Immeasurable.  And this is what keeps him in power.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Nox joined our family about four months ago.  He is an orange tabby cat who was saved at the age of four weeks outside of a diner.  His savior was a family with four children, three large dogs, and several cats who couldn't walk away from a feline in need.   After having him checked by a vet, the knights-in-shining-armor put the word out at the hospital where Scott works that there was a cat needing a home.  All Scott had to hear was that dynamics of the family temporarily housing the kitty and he was all in.  If this cat could be happy with all the action at their home, surely he would also love it here.

We did discuss it, but it didn't really seem like we needed to talk about too much.  I mean - this cat was already in a crazy house and happy -- why not bring him here?  Plus, he was orange, the very color of cat Scott himself always wanted to have.  (He was trying to replace his beloved childhood cat, Kellogg.  But, really, that is another story.)  We sneakily assembled all the cat necessities and drove the children to a nearby town to meet up with our new family addition.  However, our new cat deduced  something was up and went into hiding. After waiting for three hours, we finally signaled defeat and headed home.  The family who was sending him our way said they would meet up with us as soon as they could locate him.  This beginning should have clued us in that this was no ordinary cat.

We did finally confess to the children what was going on.  They had, after all, been riding around in the van since just after worship with no explanation.  They certainly weren't complaining and there was a palpable air of excitement.  They had all been pleading for a cat for months, but I kept saying no.  The news that we were actually in the process of adopting a cat was followed by an eruption of joy, the likes of which usually greets us when we let the kiddos learn that another baby is on the way. And so, the children were  thrilled when Scott received a call that our cat was successfully located and on his way to our hometown.  Scott made arrangements to go meet up with the family and the children did their happy dance all over the house.
We decided on the name Nox as a way to pay homage to one of our favorite book series, Harry Potter.  For those interested, nox is the spell used to extinguish the wand light.  It just seemed like a perfect name for a small, orange cat.  And he was indeed small.  Just over five weeks, he quickly snuggled into Shelby's lap and began to nurse on her finger tips.  And while it was a fun thing to have occur during the day, a 3:30 am fingertip nursing was not at all what any of us wanted to experience.  So, Nox found himself sleeping in the book nook at night while the rest of us curled up in our beds with the doors solidly shut against him.

During the day, Nox became a source of laughter and exercise for Keats and Aidan.  The boys would run up and down the hall while Nox chased after them, playfully batting at their tushies. I couldn't walk into a room without tripping over some new string and button toy ingeniously crafted just for Nox's enjoyment.  And the sounds of his nursing to sleep when we had finally managed to exhaust him were comically loud.   Scott and I congratulated ourselves on such a fine decision.  And thus began what was promising to be a beautiful relationship.  

Or so we thought.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


What do you do with your writing energy when you don't feel you have a place to write?  I send out  a Christmas newsletter every year, which I enjoy doing.  I like letting people know what is happening in our lives through words.  I'm not a big phone person -- I never have been.  (Although, I think my parent's memories of my teen years might be more accurate here.)  Just ask my dearest friends if I am easily accessible using the phone.  I have a cell phone - but it has voice mail so I don't answer it but half the time.  The house phone is even less.

I love written words.  I love the weight of a pen in my hand and the feel of stationary under my wrist.  The sound of the rustle as I move the page into a better fit for the curvature of my handwriting.  The feeling of finality after I sign my name, fold a paper in half, seal the contents into a sturdy envelope, and drop it in the mail.  There is something much more solid about writing a letter by hand than sending an email.  There is a stronger sense of accomplishment.  More thought must go into handwriting a letter as the words take longer to form, so you are allowed more opportunity to reconsider rather than dashing words on a keyboard and hitting send.  More kindness, less apology.

But then there comes that pesky time thing.  How do you make time to be the wife, mother, homeschooler, daughter, sister, friend you desire to be and still write letters?  Well, frankly, I don't.  I used to be a great letter writer -- before the twins were born.  I used to sit weekly and write a several page letter to my husband's parents (whom I refuse to call my in-laws unless I have to for clarity's sake.  I love them as if they were my own parents.) once a week.  And it worked out great as Mama R would pass the letter around to the extended family, so everyone felt cherished.  And updated (side benefit.)  

I'm great at cards.  Cards are self limiting.  There is only so much space in a card so I'm already assured my time commitment will be small.  Although, I obviously refuse to accept these space limits since I seem to be always writing onto the back and over the logo.  Ridiculous.  

But again, I love that immediate reward of accomplishing something outside of my own world.  Knowing that I am helping to keep the post office in business (I know you think it was eBay, but I am convinced it is my writing letters.  Don't spoil it for me.)  Knowing that either tomorrow or next week, the object of my affection is touching the very same page my own hands held.  There is an intimacy to letter writing which I find soothing.  Of course, my sons find the idea of opening an envelope that someone licked shut disgusting, but I prefer to dwell on the romantic notions.

So here I am.  I have a large network of family and friends who would truly appreciate the opportunity to know what occurs within these walls more frequently than once a year.  Or when I answer the phone.  I looked into MySpace but it didn't feel like a good fit.  Then I looked into FaceBook.  They never emailed the link pages to establish my own page.  I tried three times.  After that, I figured it just wasn't for me either.  So then I figured there were two options left.  I could send a monthly newsletter -- but wouldn't that diminish the fun at Christmas? -- or I could try a blog.   Granted, it uses a keyboard instead of a heavy pen.  But, in the end, isn't communicating more important than the method?

I make no promises of daily writing.  I will promise complete candor and pictures as often as I can get them on.  I also assure you that our lives will continue much in the same way they always have, with one great exception.  I will be writing again.