Monday, July 25, 2011

I am married to an old geezer

The last four days have been a blur. If this is incoherent, I apologize.


Friday and Saturday was the annual homeschool convention in downtown Phoenix. Sunday (yesterday) was my husband's 30th  birthday. I had the grand idea of throwing a surprise birthday BBQ after the morning service in honor or his birthday. That meant two days of homeschool convention by myself with six kids, preceded by a day of shopping and decorating for the party (I had to get the majority of the work done on Thursday because of the convention), and followed by a very busy Sunday with a barbecue for 85 people. I had to take all six kids along for everything because in order to make the party be a surprise,  I encouraged my husband to take a business trip that he needed to go on. The last of the secret preparations for the party were finished about 20 minutes before my husband got back home around 11 pm on Saturday.

Well, it all went off without a hitch. We had a new record attendance in church, the party/barbecue was a hit, AND I was able to find great materials at the convention for our upcoming school year.

Sunday night, after the evening church service, I finally had the kids in bed shortly before 10 pm. Just as they were all tucked in, a thunderstorm broke loose. If we lived anywhere else, this would not be a big deal - but we only get maybe 2 or 3 storms like this each year. When we do, we stop whatever we are doing so the kids can run out and play in the pouring rain and the flood stream in the gutter until the rain stops again, by which time they are completely drenched and muddy. It's a tradition - just not necessarily one that I am excited about late in the evening after four really long days, when my feet and ankles feel like they have been pounded by a mallet.

While the rain was torrential, it only lasted about 15 minutes. The kids were drenched completely and needed to dry off and get into fresh pajamas. It was a late evening, but they really loved the combination of thunderstorm, getting pulled out of bed after bedtime, and staying up late. 

I love birthday surprises. This was such a great weekend to look back on for years to come!


  1. Waking up your kids to go play in the thunderstorm...what a cool mom you are!!!

    Hats off to you organising everything so well Zsuzsanna. I bet your husband was so thrilled! ...Well maybe not about his birthday; I'm about to hit that big number at the end of the year too!

    Happy birthday to Pastor Anderson from all the O'Neill family in Ireland!

  2. Zsuzana, I saw this on CNN yesterday and for some reason, thought of you and wondered what you would thing.

  3. That was so much work for you to get them up and let them play; then settle them in again. But how great! They will have wonderful memories of that evening the thunderstorm hit after bed time.

  4. Your church looks so wonderful and inviting to me, more than these big fancy churches. I love the rockers in the back! Happy Birthday to Pastor Anderson!! Can't wait to hear about your homeschool plans this year!

  5. looks great. i'm sure he hada wonderful time. the church is definitely looking fuller. how many people did you have that sunday? as well, are most of the newcomers from soulwinning, or word of mouth?

  6. I love thunderstorms, we used to watch them in the evenings after dinner, we had a great view from my parents home. Mum got very nervous about us playing during them though! One time, lightning struck the ground about 100 metres away, and managed to connect to our metal fence which mum was opening at the time, and she was shocked. She was ok, but whenever lightning was close from that point on she couldn't hear the thunder, it was strange.

    We also had a yard that, with the way the land was set, actually got it's own little running river when it rained heavily, which we would send boats down, and was ankle deep, so we would play in that once the storm passed, or during non-stormy rains.

  7. Happy Birthday Pastor Anderson!

  8. Happy Birthday, Pastor Anderson!

  9. Happy Birthday, Pastor Anderson!

    I'm glad things went so well and that he had a happy birthday. And what a mom to wake the children up to play in the rain--what time you take to make such sweet memories for them. I know that someday your grandchildren and great-children will hear plenty of 'Grandma Zsuzsanna' stories! Our pastor recently gave a sermon on time being one of the important things we can give those we love--your rain story is a perfect example--it would have meant less effort and time to let them sleep, but you gave the gift of your time that resulted in a wonderful memory.

    God Bless You, the Pastor, and the Six,


  10. Happy birthday to your hubby! I hope he appreciates what a great wife he has :-) That sounds like a lot of work but very rewarding. I once threw my husband a surprise party - it was tough getting ready, but boy was it worth it.

    I was also thinking while I read this post about all the people reading this blog who probably think you are somewhat "subjugated" given the roles in your marriage. I must admit to thinking that myself sometimes. While I, personally, don't subscribe to many of your views about men's and women's roles in a family, I think the proof is clear that it works well for your family. (You don't seem very subjugated to me - in fact, seems like you have the run of the place :-) Just further evidence that we should accept that not all families work the same way. Hope you get some rest over the next few days.

  11. Sounds like you are very indulgent with your children. "No" is a simple, powerful word that you should not be afraid to use. So what if the children traditionally get to play in the thunderstorms. If you or they need sleep; or do not wish to waste the time and effort put into readying for bed, only to have all the work undone and in need of redoing; or if you wish to teach discipline by sticking to a regular bedtime, within reason; or if you do not wish to continue as a slave to your children's whims and demands, or to your own desire to be a perfect parent; then it would have been perfectly acceptable to tell the children, "No, not this time" rather than give in, then blog about it in a half complaining, half self-adulating manner. There have been thunderstorms in the past, and there will be more in the future. You definitely remind me of a martyr momma. I'd like to remind you that you will be most useful to your dear family by also doing what is best for yourself, even if that includes incorporating decent hours of sleep and rest or recreation time into your schedule. And speaking of decent hours of sleep, I disapprove of the fact that your idea of staying up late is past 10 PM; I would think that children your age should be in bed much earlier, unless they sleep in until 8 AM to 12 PM the next day, depending on their age.

  12. You're married to a punk. Unless he decides to grow up now that he's hit the ripe old age of 30, but that's doubtful. Very doubtful. You actually have seven kids and the oldest is probably the least mature of them all.

  13. Tabitha - I have to know what was the reason behind such a condescending comment. I mean, seriously, we all do things as parents that are not necessarily our preference but because it will bring a smile to our children's faces. If you have children, then more than likely you have watched a Disney movie, possibly seen some character on ice, played ball when you were tired and hung a less than attractive piece of art on your wall or frig.... not because you necessarily would have chosen any of these activities but because you have children. A parent is certainly capable of keeping a home disciplined and structured while occassionally breaking the normal "rules" and routines to include some spontaneous fun.

  14. Tabitha, you are a moron of epic proportions!

  15. Ooooh, Tabitha "disapproves"! Ha!

  16. I was a very regimented mommy when my children were young. Not necessarily scheduled by the clock but definitely commited to my routine.
    Every now and then, though, I broke free of that routine and made fun memories for my kids.
    To show what a terrible mom I am I will give an example. Then people can blast me too. *happy clapping*
    My husband traveled quite a bit when our kids were little, leaving it just them and myself for supper most nights. Even though I made weekly menus and was organized with it, sometimes I got off kilter and didn't get dinner made. One evening, the kids asked "mom, what's for dinner?" And I had no plan. So I said "Milk shakes from Steak-n-Shake get in the van." So off we went to eat ice cream for supper.
    For their bedtime snack they had oatmeal and fruit (to make up for my mommy crime of that evening)
    But at ages 20 and 17, they still talk about the time I hustled them into the van, all of us giggling, so we could have shakes for supper.

    Routines are wonderful and necessary, in my opinion, when raising kids; but so is flexibility. On top of that, I don't see anythingn wrong with taking advantage of a summer evening to see something rare like a thunderstorm in Arizona. Now if I woke my kids up every time it snowed here in Illinois, people would have a good reason to criticize.
    I don't think breaking routine hurt my children and I doubt it will hurt yours.
    Now get back in there and tie your kids to the beds where they belong. *wink*

  17. He is 30? Then it's time for him to grow up!

  18. Oh, no! Tabitha "Disapproves!" Zsuzsanna, I hope you can rise above your anguish and continue to parent your children as you see fit. I have the most wonderful memories of my childhood and most of them include things like your thunderstorm story. I am trying to create memories like that for my six.

    Tabitha, you have issues. I pray they will be resolved before you do real damage to someone.

    in His peace,

  19. @Tabitha Come off it! I disagree with 99%, no scratch that, 99.99% of Zsuzsanna's beliefs, but that doesn't mean I would critisize EVERYTHING she does, just for the sake of critisizing. That would just be downright immature. When I read about the "storm tradition", I thought how cool is that, what lucky kids.
    I am always amazed at how free people feel to handout advice on raising children. I wonder if you would do it if you were face-to-face with Zsuzsanna (or any other mother for that matter).


  20. My husband's most fond memories from childhood are when his Mom would grab the kids up after a rain shower and take them outside to stomp mud puddles. It wasn't in their schedule. It made a bigger mess for her to clean up alone (his Dad was working). It, however, made incredible memories of laughter, love, fun, spontenaity, and good times as a family. He brings those fun memories into our children's lives. He is a great man of God, husband, and father because of those types of things (along with the lessons of staying on task that also came).

    Tabitha, I don't agree with many thigns she posts. But your post is ridiculous. They get rain a few times in a season and SHE decided it would be fun to get the kids up and create a memory. She is flexible and open to having some fun in life. Schedules have their place and are a good thing for kids growing up and adults as well. However, rigidity is a horrible way to live. Lighten up and relax. Enjoy your life in Christ a bit. It will help your life a lot. It will help your family.

  21. It looks like you had fun. I was shocked to see a woman wearing pants in the front row of your church. I thought this was not allowed in your church, though it is very common in other churches. How did your husband handle it?

  22. Tabitha would be appalled to learn that our second thunderstorm this season (maybe even all year, I don't remember) again happened on Sunday night just as all the kids were coming to say good night.

    Last night, just as the week before, instead of going to bed the kids were all allowed to go play outside in the rain, jump in the puddles, ride their bikes in the flooded gutters, and generally make a mess of themselves and then the freshly mopped tile in the living room when they came in dripping and muddy.

    My biggest parenting problem this morning is to keep them from laughing and giggling too loud while happily playing with each other as to not wake the baby on the other end of the house. They will fondly look back on these childhood days their entire lives, and I will miss it all.

  23. hahaha! I'm a bigger kid than my children when it comes to thunderstorms, hail & just a good down pour in general! We love it at our house! I would have had my kids out there too if they were still awake, how is it in any way shape or form bad for your kids to take delight in God's creation?
    Thunderstorm's are exciting! & you can tell your kids God's renovating in Heaven or something, hence all the noise, lol. Something silly, and fun. Considering there is so much in this world today we have to keep pur kid's safe from and say no to, why oh why would we say no to something innocent and God-made such as rain puddles play time? :)


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