Thursday, December 30, 2010

All About Me

  • Hibernation is a state of inactivity and metabolic depression in animals.  Wikipedia
  • Hibernation is a time when animals ‘sleep’ through cold weather...We are going to use the word 'sleep' sometimes but hibernation is different from regular sleep...With true hibernation...There is no movement and it takes a long time for it to wake up enough to even walk around.  Thinkquest
  • Some hibernating animals wake up and move around, have a snack and then go back into hibernation again.  Sask Schools
  • When it gets cold outside, animals get ready to hibernate. When it warms up, they wake up. Therefore, hibernation periods can vary depending on the weather that year.  How stuff works

    I'm fighting's in the 50s today so tomorrow I may possibly leave the house.  No promises!

Monday, December 27, 2010

A Few of My Favorite Things...

  • The kids got a new gaming system.  I am really enjoying the ability to make an avatar.  She is a little bit chubby, her hair is a beehive with a side curl and her wardrobe rocks.
  • The wonderful smell of potpourri permeates my house right friend gives me a bag of this every year and I LOVE it.  Cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, whole cloves, a lemon, an orange.  Cut up the lemon and orange, put all in a saucepan full of water, simmer and enjoy.  I put mine in the fridge overnight and then bring it out again the next day.  It makes several days smell delicious.
  • Sleeping in and not having to be anywhere or prepare for anything.  Today, Thursday and Friday are the only days I have like that.  The other days are 'run like the wind, Bullseye' kind of days.
  • I don't have papers to grade, report cards to figure OR lesson plans to make.  *SIGH*  (That was a huge sigh of relief.)
  • We get to do a really cool service project tonight that helps local food pantries.
  • I'm reading a good book.
  • Erik and I got a down comforter for Christmas.  Oh be still my heart.  AWESOMENESS to the 10th power.
The absolute best thing that we got for Christmas came from God.  The best WHITE Christmas ever.  So beautiful that it caused an extra dose of Christmas cheer everywhere it landed. 

I sit back and realize that I am blessed beyond measure.  Maybe I should act it.  ( ;

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Christmas Letter 2010

          The Eicholtz Family 2010 Christmas Letter!

So, has this year’s gas pedal been stuck on accelerate for you too? I am now a mom to two teenagers, (Erika and Kayla) and one (Lilly) that wishes with all her heart that she was too. With each passing day, I am reminded to make it count, take the extra time to savor the sweet joys of life and take nothing for granted. Now, here is some of what we have been up to this year:

The highlights:

• School and extra-curricular: science bowl, engineering day, writing class, art club, purity retreat, spelling bee, book fair, drama camp, 4H camp, Summer Celebration at Lipscomb College, country ham curing, Hershey’s state track meet, state fair (blue ribbon for our country ham!), tennis, drama club, Community Bible Study, science fair, Camp Currie, Civil War days, Begg’s family farm, Girl Scouts, and Teen Court

• Travel: In March, we visited Frank and Fab in Palm City, Florida. We also visited Danny and Wanda in Orlando and discovered that, even in the pouring rain, Disney is still the happiest place on earth. We also found time to meet up with my cousin Jerry and his wife, Dorothy, for dinner while in the sunshine state. In the summer, we visited Holiday World and Venture River.

• Life: Late in the fall, after purchasing our curriculum and beginning the school year as homeschoolers, we made the decision for all the kids to re-enter public school. Lilly is 4th grade and Erika is at glorious middle school. As of January 3, Kayla will join Erika at middle school. This was a really tough decision, but necessary. After 7 years of lesson plans and grading papers, I just really needed a break. The kids also needed time to be away from each other. It is quite an adjustment, but the schools are excellent and so far, so are the girls’ grades.

It has been a year of changing and growing for us-as is every year. I am, as always, excited at the thought of a new calendar year. We know there are more changes and challenges on the horizon for us, but we continue to keep our faith firmly in the Lord and Savior whose birth we celebrate this Christmas. We sincerely wish each and every one of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

May God bless you!

Erik, Janice, Erika, Kayla, and Lilly

Thursday, December 23, 2010


This day started out happy, with plans in place to have relatives join us for lunch.  Much excitement and anticipation. 

Then Erika found MY cat and best friend, Gray Gray, dead.  We all cried much because she was the best cat ever.  Seriously, we have not ever had any problems with her AND she was lovable.  She was an amazing mouser and she was a great mom to too many litters of kittens.  (She went through a very promiscuous phase during which we could not get her fixed before she was pregnant again.) She would eat any type of food.  She would use her litter box even when it needed to be scooped.  She was always up for snuggling, I would just wiggle my fingers and she would be in my lap.  She also did not hold a grudge if I had to get up and go pee as soon as she got good and comfy.  In fact, she would keep my seat warm while I was gone.  I am sooo sad and I miss her so much already.  Movies will never be the same.

She is laid to rest by the edge of the woods. Gray Gray-you were loved and you are greatly missed.

I am glad we had plans with our cousins today because playing is a good way to forget sadness for a while.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas IS Coming!!

Sorry to keep you in suspense, Mia gets bragging rights, it is Vera Bradley that makes Erika swoon.  She LOVES it.  Neither of us love the prices though.  They border on ridiculous.  We did find one, and it is one she really likes that was in my price requirement.  This is not a Christmas present, not truly.  More of a school supply.  Kayla got a Pokemon one.  Lilly has a really nice one from the Gap.  Those should get us through this year.

We have had our first bullying incident.  My daughter handled it well.  She was getting slammed on Facebook via private messages by a girl at school.  She blocked her, unfriended her and avoids her at school.  I hate that she is having to learn these lessons, but sooner or later we all have to learn how to deal with the mean girls.  Erik offered to coach her in fight school if necessary.  Good times.  Precious memories.

We had such a full and fun day yesterday that I can't believe it is only day one of break.  Well, day 2 now.  AND, because I am so used to getting up at 6:30 now, sleeping until 8 really does seem crazy late.  I get so much more accomplished these days.  As much as I dislike getting up early, I cannot deny being more productive in the morning.  By evening, I am tired and I no longer get a second wind at 9PM.

I have just a few more things I need to do before Christmas-mostly cooking things-and I am ready.  I am so glad that I was so driven initially.  It is nice to be looking forward to the rapidly approaching holiday, not racing the clock.

It is amazing how many people have cut out mailing Christmas cards this year.  We normally have a ton by now and we only have about a third of what we normally get.  I was really late mailing this year-but I did get them out...okay, some of them are being mailed today.  

I am doing really well at decluttering this week so far.  I have two boxes full and I plan to fill all of the other boxes I have laying around (from all of my online shopping).  One of our local charities suffered some major water damage a few days ago and I have decided that makes the timing perfect for me to do some major cleaning out-to replenish their stock.  If you are local-perhaps I can encourage you to do the same.

Merry Christmas preparation to you all!!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Guessing Game!

Night and Day
Picadilly Plum
Totally Turquoise
Mediterranean Blue
Java Blue
Apple Green

My new obsession on ebay.  I am trying to find one of those colors in a backpack for my daughter.  Don't get me wrong, I have found thousands of them.  I am trying to find one that can be bought for less than $30 INCLUDING shipping.  So far, I am having no luck.  However, while I was away from my computer all day today for Lilly's Christmas program, two sold for less than my price.  Serious bummer.  In a couple of days, I am retiring from this hunt and will resume it after Christmas. (OR give up!) Perhaps a bunch of people will get them for Christmas and sell them cheap.  HA!

So, guess who the famous designer is of these amazingly descriptive colored items.  Winner gets.....bragging rights!!

Quote of the Day

It is from yesterday.  We were taking my mom to do a tiny bit of Christmas shopping after the 100th doctor appointment this month.  As we pulled into Toys R Us, we passed about 7 cars exiting.

"Why do all the people leaving Toys R Us look so angry?", says Kayla.  "They just left a giant toy store, shouldn't they be happier?"

Indeed.  Shouldn't we all be happier at Christmas time?  Our Toys R Us does not have wheelchair shopping, just in case you have ever wondered...perhaps I will save someone else a trip.  Kohl's does though.  ( ;

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Life... bullets.

  • I hate school. (Not really) Erika had a hard day today.  Apparently her group of friends 'dumped' her because some boy told them she said something that she did not say.  So hard to watch her have to learn these things about life, people and friends that are not really friends.  BLECH!
  • My Christmas letter is written (Steph R.-my tongue is sticking out at you and I am not sending you one because you are a Christmas letter hater!) and the envelopes, letters and pictures are all addressed and ready to go, I think.
  • I am finished with my Christmas shopping and ALMOST all of the presents are wrapped as well.  It feels very good.  I look forward to a calm relaxing week next week.
  • I have a job!  If everything goes through all right.  It is super part-time with extremely flexible hours and I will kind of be my own boss.  I am not gonna say much more beyond that until it is a sure fire thing.  They could reject my paperwork or something-but I should be a full-fledged employee around the first of January.
  • I hope there is school tomorrow.  Lilly's grade is doing a Christmas program, tomorrow is dress rehearsal and Fridy is the program.  Plus, they are making gingerbread houses tomorrow.  Snow day the week before Christmas are totally unfair because they would not miss work-just fun Christmas stuff!
  • The DNA of Relationships by Dr. Gary Smalley    Get it, read it, live it.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Ahhhh, Saturday!

The weather outside was frightful,
But the day has been delightful.

All since we had no place to go,
We didn't go, didn't go, didn't go.

It has been a really good day.  Even the bickering has been at an all-time low.  I went to breakfast with a friend at the start of the day.  When I called to check in on everyone, I learned that Erika wasn't feeling well.  She ended up feeling much better later-I believe she may have passed/or be in the process of passing another kidney stone.  I hope more water is in her future!!

We did lots of baking today-just for fun, no pressure.  We watched a few movies and some TV.  I saw It's A Wonderful Life for the first time.  Pretty good.  I predict it may even turn into a classic. LOL.

I am up way too late, but I just really felt like I should blog a really good, easy, enjoyable family day.  They are becoming fewer and fewer and so we savor them!

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

My Isaac

I asked the other day for you to tell me what your Isaac is; as in, what one thing do you value in life more than the blessings of God?  What do you hold on to tightly despite the fact that he asks you to put HIM first?  Abraham COULD have done that with Isaac.  In fact, I expected him to.  After all, he had been promised a son for 25 years before the promise came true.  He and Sarah had already tried to 'help' God.  Once Isaac was finally born and Abraham could see this living, breathing son that would fulfill all the things God had promised to him-he must have truly felt blessed by God. 

Then God told him very plainly to take Isaac to the top of the mountain and sacrifice his son-Isaac(the one who had been promised for 25 years before they got him) on an altar.  God was testing Abraham to see if Isaac meant more to Abraham than God.  It was a test that Abraham passed with flying colors.  So did Isaac, for that matter.  Then God unleashed blessings over both of them abundantly.

So, what is God calling me to release and trust Him with?  I seriously reflected on this at length.  It is my children/family.  Specifically, it is the dream of being the perfect mom married to the perfect dad with perfect  children.  Oh my goodness, I have always wanted to be a super mom.  I grew up with very little parenting-very broken.  In fact, I never really wanted to have children because of that little fact.  I was convinced my flaws and past would mess up any children I might have, so I made up my mind not to have any. Then I met my Prince Charming, got married and part of that 'dream' package would include children.  I tried desperately to start fixing myself as soon as I found out I was pregnant with numero uno.  I also tried to work on fixing Erik.  We had less than 9 months to whip ourselves into super parents.

Now I am many years and three kids into the game.  I don't feel a bit more equipped today to be a mom than I ever did.  Today, I checked out 2 resources that promise to make me a better wife and mother.  My expectations of what will actually come out of these resources...well, pretty slim.  I have read about 6000 self-help books on marriage, family and parenting.  It would take a whole village and at least six miracles to make me what I long to be in the wife and parent category.  I want to be perfect.  That is my goal.  Sounds good?  I want my family to be perfect.  I want the perfectness of my family now to make up for the lack of perfection I grew up with.  I want to somehow prove that I am worthwhile and the best way to do that is to be perfect. 

I want to be the Proverbs 31 woman.  I want my husband and children to arise and call me blessed.  I want to be known as a good person, wife and mom.  I long for someone to tell me how wonderful my family is and feel like I can truly take the compliment to heart and savor it like choice wine.  Instead, I feel much more like Job's wife.  Mean and spiteful.  I feel like my parenting skills vacillate from strict and overprotective all the way to permissive and neglectful.  It seems as though everyone else in the world has a plan of action and I am winging it.  I worry all the time about failing my family and what will that mean?  What will it look like?  Will they stray as far off the path as I did?  Have I ruined them already?  Should I just throw up my hands and quit now?  Should I even bother to read one more book?

AND YET I HAVE A HOPE.  These are not really my children, not exactly.  They are sent to me from a God who claims to know what he was doing when He chose me.  They belong to Him.  My insecurities and fears are not reality.  At times I mess up, other times-success! 

So what is my Isaac?  The perfect family.  Well-adjusted, smart, beautiful children.  Son-in-laws that are salt of the earth. (someday)  Children that grow up to be perfect and have perfect spouses and perfect children.

With my reality being so far from my goal, you would think this would be an easy thing to isn't.  I'm not even sure I can.  My prayer is that God will give me the wisdom to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference.

Please Lord, help me realize that you NEVER called me to perfection.

Safety First!

I am a safe person.  Because of that character trait, I OFTEN assume everyone is safe.  It is a ghastly mistake.  What is a safe person?  A safe person is someone who can listen to your problems, your 'dirt', and still love you just the same.  In fact, they may even love you more because they feel a special bond to you.  They don't judge you or decide they need to 'help' you manage your life.  They don't look down at you and feel pity for you and yours.  They don't shelter their children from yours to avoid your 'dirt'. They don't become a wonderful superficial friend-you know the ones who smile at you and speak sweetly, but it never quite reaches their eyes.  The delivery of the nice-nice just rings hollow and fake-fake. SAFE FRIENDS love you where you are, know you have flaws, know they have their own set of flaws and give you the delightful gift of love and friendship.  A safe person may even go as far as believing that we serve a REDEEMING God who will use me and my dirt to help someone else.

Now, first, I need to clarify that I have alot of safe friends.  Friends that form a very large support network around me.  They look across at me and love and respect me...dirt and all.  Friends that God uses to bless me and encourage me to keep on even through life's frequent messes.

My problem is the friends that pretend to be safe.  The ones who are hanging on to the side of their own dirt cliff.  Sure, they have dirt.  A few people even know they have dirt.  Their focus is not their own dirt though.  No, their focus is finding out other people's dirt.  Their goal is to pretend they have no dirt while pointing out all the dirt of those around them.

I know that this type of thing is very common in churches among Christians.  Don't kid yourself though, it is a very helpful tool of the devil and it is alive and flourishing in non-Christian worlds as well.

So, I have talked about all of this to say this:  I struggle with people.  I struggle with liking people and letting them through the thick wall I have built around my heart.  I am not a naturally trusting person (anymore) and when someone repeats gossip to me...the wall thickens and my brain tells me to avoid this person forevermore.  The trouble is we all do it.  We don't all make a lifestyle of it like the aforementioned type, but we all discuss things we shouldn't with people we shouldn't.  Sometimes we let things out that we never meant to. 

Another big complication: being both the student and teacher at the same time.  Controlling my tongue and helping my children learn to control theirs.  Knowing that the UNSAFE people in my life are still people that God dearly loves AND will use to further His kingdom.  Knowing that I learned to be a safe person by first being an UNSAFE person.  Learning the difference with the gift of wisdom know as 'growing up'!

I am neither better or worse than anyone else.  I KNOW THIS IS TRUE.  Yet, in reality, I have a hard time knowing it.  I have a hard time not ranking sins, my own and the sins of others.  I sit here in the knowledge that I was once an unsafe person resenting the hell out of the people who still are.  I think that is known as bitter irony.

Monday, December 06, 2010


It is so stinking cold that I don't even want to leave the house.  The cold breath of winter reaches right through to my bone marrow.  This morning, the snow flurrying around was kind of pretty.  Then the sun came out all nice and pretty and warmed things up...NOT AT ALL.  Deceptive sun!  Making it look warm and cozy but in reality, the temperature continues to fall.

I am in a really hard place right now, completely unrelated to the weather.  All around me, people are rescuing orphans, loving one another, and being lovely blessings to everyone they cross paths with.  Meanwhile, my heart feels tiny and as cold as the weather.  I am struggling to love my own family.  I am praying that God will fill me to overflowing with His love that I may have that overflow to love others too.  I believe that He can and will do this...and for the sake of all around me, I hope it is very soon.

In the meantime, I am faking it very well.  I have done some very lovely things lately despite my tiny sliver of ice heart.  I am clinging to 'fake it till you make it' with all that I have!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

The Filling

The best thing about a pie is the filling.  The crust is just necessary to hold all the filling in.  Everyone comes with a crust that is predetermined...but the filling is up to us. 

The crust is my physical make-up, my intelligence, my personality, and my gifts.  The filling is all the delicious relationships and wonderful people in my life.  The vacations I take.  All of my memories, even a dash of salty ones here and there.  The experiences I have, risks I take, skills I learn and stories in my head.

I have to remember that my crust has limitations.  However, my filling is limitless.  AND, I want a deep dish pie with lots of filling!

How are you filling your pie?  My filling is making precious memories with my family right now.  I am savoring the few years I have left with all three girls still in a state of somewhat dependence.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010


True Confession:  I had a major cheatfest over Thanksgiving.  It started with a little dab here, a spoon full of this and a spoon full of that.  It became whatever I wanted whenever I wanted it.  To great in, I, who never buy movie concessions, bought a large popcorn to enjoy during Harry Potter movie(LOVED it!) and got a REFILL.  Granted, it was for all of our family, but I still ate a whole lot of popcorn yumminess.  Popcorn is one of the things on my no-no list-even though I don't get extra butter.

Today is day 3 of no cheating.  It has taken much longer to shake the cravings this time...but I think I am out of withdrawal.  Apparently one small cheat here or there doesn't really create much of an uproar.  However, unbridled CARB enjoyment over several days is like a junkie relapse.  I don't plan to cheat again any time soon.  I'd like to say never, but one day at a time and all.  I did pack on about 4 of my lost pounds, but they have left now with my returning good behavior.  Weight loss is SOOOOOOO hard.  It is a constant fight and food is EVERYWHERE!!  I remain committed.

Major things we have done that I have not blogged about:
  • We bought our Christmas tree from a local charity and put it up earlier than we ever have before.  It is all nice and decorated and has been since the weekend.  The tree looks really great and so does the room it is in.  The rest of the house needs serious intervention.
  • Lilly's theater group performed their Christmas play Monday night.  It was The Best Christmas Pageant Ever  and it was great.  I am so proud of Lilly, she really enjoyed it and they all did a great job. Now she begins practices for the school play coming up mid-December.
  • I have made major progress in Christmas shopping.  I even have a few things wrapped already!  I have made zero progress in the CARD department though.
  • Last night, the older girls and I had a reunion with my friend Karri and her girls from Houston.  They met with several of us that used to do home school support meetings together.  The girls sat at one table and caught up.  The moms were at another.  Not sure which group had the most fun.  It was terrific and just what I needed.  It did remind me just how much I miss my friend though-she is one of the most encouraging people I know.  HOUSTON IS SO FAR AWAY.
Today at Bible study, we were asked the question:  What is my Isaac?  What is God asking me to sacrifice so that he can show His glory through my life.

I think I may know the answer already but I am going to study on it for a few days and let it 'stew'.

How about you?