Living. The. Dream.

Today was Work Like a Dog Day at the Rensner household. I can safely assure you that the first six Rensner kids knew how to handle themselves on Work Like a Dog Day much, much better than the three littles. How do I know this? It’s simple: the first six Rensner kids are still alive. I’m pretty sure if they had acted like the littles did today, they would have been buried in the backyard.

Oy. About mid-afternoon, I finally gave up and told them to go play/read/draw/survive in their rooms for a while. I was fuming, Fiffer was pouting, but the boys (in their shared bedroom) were as oblivious as could be. Their door wasn’t locked (of course) or even closed. As far as they were concerned, they weren’t even in trouble. I caught glimpses of them popping in and out of their bedroom while I mopped the floor, and I could tell they had put on dress-up clothes. They were laughing and squabbling and laughing again. Normal.

And then Feff came downstairs, wailing to high heaven that Feffer had peed on his dress (Yes, Feff was wearing his Elsa costume. Don’t judge.) Peed. On. His. Dress. Upon further investigation, it seems that Feffer (and possibly Feff) had peed all over the room. Feff only got upset when it got on his favorite costume.

They. Peed. All. Over. The. Room.

Oy. After a little carpet cleaning session (by them, not me), we had an early bath, supper, and bedtime. Feff asked why they had to go to bed early. Seriously?

But we made it. Another Work Like a Dog Day is in the books. And no one is buried in the backyard.

But it was close.





A New Phone

“So…” I explained to my husband as he and Josiah blessedly took the little people swimming, “While Hayden and I are running errands, I guess I’ll swing in and take care of my cell phone real quick.”

Take care of my cell phone real quick. As if.

Our local A T & T is remodeling their store, so they have a desk set up in a tiny area inside and a wait-for-your-turn bench outside. Hayden and I spent an hour on the bench. We probably wouldn’t have hung in there so long, but the kid…um…young man…who waited on us showed such promise. Such hope. “Just five more minutes, madam,” he said…about a dozen times. (So I guess he was right on time.) On his final spiel, “Boom, madam! Just…boom! This is a newer phone…with three times the memory…and it will cost you less every month. Isn’t that awesome? Boom!”

Hayden shook her head, afraid that I was going to “boom” him into the next county. First of all, settle down. After an hour on the bench, I craved a little less personality and a little more efficiency. My phone was broken. I needed a new one. Preferably one pretty similar to what I had before. How. Hard. Is. That?! It’s not like the kid even transferred the data over for me (he explained how it would be so much easier for me to do it…myself…on my home computer), so what…pray tell…took so blasted long?! (The idea that it took so long because he completely serviced two people who came in after me is just a theory.)

And, second of all…and most importantly. How. Much. Does. A. Cell. Phone. Cost? Who knows? It’s like internet service (or cable, back when we had that). They offer you a low, low bargain price. And you feel pretty good about it. And you pay that price for a couple of months. But then your bill is a couple of dollars higher. And you debate about calling. But, you think to yourself, it’s just a couple of dollars. And, ever so slowly, it goes up and up and up…until you finally call to “cancel.” And they tell you that…boom!…you called just in time…because…boom!…they’re running a 15 minute sale…and boom!…your new bill is going to be even less than it was when you started…and boom!…isn’t that awesome?

No. It is not awesome. I realize that one viewpoint (the one held by boom-boy) is that he’s offering me a heckuva deal. But the other viewpoint (the one held by cranky middle-aged, boom-less-woman) is that they’ve been screwing me all along. If it’s going to cost me $53.53 a month (just a made-up figure) because I signed up on the first Tuesday of the second full moon, shouldn’t it cost that much any time? This drives me absolutely bonkers. Pick a price. If it’s at least reasonably competitive (factoring in that I’m too lazy to switch companies), I’ll pay it. Let me pay it for a year (or two or whatever) and then give me fair warning that the price is going to change. Again, if it’s at least reasonably competitive, I. Will. Pay. It.

Especially if you can get it to me in less than an hour.




My Amaza-Sister

Quincy’s getting married. A month from today. 33 days. But who’s counting?

And I think we’re doing alright. We have a few more details to iron out when Quincy gets home (5 days. But who’s counting?), but I think we’re pretty set.

Except (and those of you who know me already know where this is headed) what in the world am I going to wear?!

I had a plan. I really did. When spring clothes first came out, Tom’s mom sent me a picture of the beautiful dress she found. Since she chose something in coral (one of the wedding colors), I decided to choose something in mint (the other wedding color). I perused online…especially at Dress Barn…and saw several, several that I liked. But, because I had ordered a new body for the wedding, I decided to postpone actual shopping, since I planned to be a shadow of my former self.

About that. I kicked tail for six weeks. Seriously. Kicked. Tail. And then I stopped. Ugh.

So…no new body for the wedding. But, remembering the several, several things I had seen at Dress Barn, I wasn’t worried. I would just hit a Dress Barn at some point (we don’t have one locally). So I did…this past Saturday when I had to run to St. Louis to pick up Quincy’s veil. And…wait for it…they had nothing in mint. Nothing.

I immediately called my sister, trying to keep the I’m-going-to-jump-off-a-bridge tone out of my voice. She heard it anyway. She heard it and sprang into action. Between phone calls, text messages, facebook posts, and two actual, physical shopping trips (one by me and one by Amy), I got one outfit in the mail yesterday…and another one today….and I’m pretty sure another one will arrive tomorrow.

And…alleluia…the two I’ve received already are awesome. It’s hard to even choose which one I want to wear for the wedding…I might change clothes halfway through the service.

So…kudos to the best sister in the world. She has a pretty amazing job already…but if you need a personal shopper…I’m sure she wouldn’t mind me giving out her number.

Quincy Who?

1130 miles. 2 days. It was a quick, quick trip. But it was so much fun. First on the agenda, the kids took me to see the little house where Quincy and Tom are going to be living after the wedding. So cute and charming. And they’re both so excited. Awesome.

After that, I completely forgot to take pictures. But Quincy, Josiah, Tom, and a few of their friends joined me for supper at Pizza Hut. Then we visited and played Farkle for a while. Then more visiting and laughing over frappes at McDonalds. Then an early morning breakfast with Quincy and Tom before Josiah and I hit the road.

(I was all set to treat the kids and their friends to all these goodies…but then I lost my debit card on the trip. Thankfully, a Good Samaritan found it and called the number to put a hold on the account…which was a huge relief…but Josiah ended up treating everyone all weekend. Bless his heart. He will be reimbursed when the bank opens Monday morning.)

It was a long, ugly trip home. Between Josiah and I both fighting sleep and the blasted traffic we kept hitting…it took us a while. But we made it safe and sound. And we both went to bed early and got up late…good as new.

Quincy stayed in Seward for Tom’s graduation today (we were bummed to miss it), and then she’s spending the rest of the month with him and his family. We’re fine with it. We don’t care a bit. We don’t even miss her. Quincy who?

Outstanding Freshman in Chemistry

At the tail end of a conversation with Josiah…almost as an afterthought…”Hey, Mom, I won some kind of award…” No, he didn’t go to the banquet. And, no, he didn’t think it was a big deal.

But his mother does. Check it out here.

Congratulations, son! You’re a chip off the old block…except…not…since your father and I’s combined knowledge of chemistry wouldn’t fill a test tube. Praising God…and God alone…for the wonderful gifts He has given you!

Giving Up

Dentist: Would you like a sticker…since you were such a big boy?

Feff: Yes! Do you have any Frozen stickers?

Dentist: We did, but a lot of our little girls use the Frozen stickers. But we have Spiderman. Would you like that…or something else?

Feff: Yes! Do you have any Cinderella?


He is who he is. So…today…as he turns six years old…we celebrate who he is.


Notice Feffer starting to pout…he hates for it to be someone else’s turn. Notice also that I did buy Feff some boys’ pajamas…which he dutifully wears…until he wakes up…and covers them with his sister’s old dress…


Feffer is now completely over the birthday celebration…


Happy birthday, Dude. We love you!

Seven Weeks

It’s been almost seven weeks since Dillon moved to Montana. And…as the dust settles…we are all (including him) doing so. much. better. It has taken a while to decompress and figure out the new normal. Things had gotten so bad…so much worse than we even realized. To live without being constantly on high alert has taken some getting used to.

First and foremost, Dillon himself seems to be doing well. We talked to him this past Sunday (for the first time since he left…as per their rules), and he sounded like a new kid. He has had a spiritual reawakening (he chose to be re-baptized Sunday), he was actually eager to talk to us, and he seems to be playing by their rules. He told us, “It’s their way…and there is no highway,” which made me smile. When we asked about free time, he said, “What free time?”… another thing that made me smile. Although we can write him anytime, we can only talk to him 2-4 times a month (depending on his decisions), and he won’t be able to come home for a visit until Christmas. I have a hair-brained plan to shlep everyone to Montana next summer to see him in his element, so we’ll see.

Second, the little kids are doing much better. I definitely think Dillon was more of a stressor on them than we even realized. Overnight, the at-home vandalism stopped. So…was Dillon doing some of that and setting them up to take the blame? Or was the stress of Dillon making them behave that way? Or (most likely) was it a combination of both of those things? The little ones are counting down the days until school is out (as are we, but with different emotions…smile) and growing by leaps and bounds. Things are progressing (slowly) with their biological parents too, as we wait for things to be settled so we can adopt again. Who knew that we would be blessed with NINE kids? And that the baby would turn six the very same week our oldest turned 22? (And us being so young!)

Third, Hayden is doing well. After starting with a counselor myself (a very difficult step), we’ve sent Hayden to see her too. Although the child is always our family funny bone and delight, we (mostly I) have worried that she is hiding some anxiety from us. She has certainly seen our pain as kids have made poor decisions, but we don’t want her to carry any perfectionist guilt…as if she’s responsible for our happiness. Does that make sense? Anyway, she and the counselor hit it off (as I and the counselor did), so I like that little added safety net for our girl.

And, finally, Jason and I are doing so much better, it’s unreal. Instead of just surviving the days, we are able to make plans…and follow through on them…and dream…and hope again. We are able to delight in the littles…and our other kids…and each other…in a way we weren’t capable of before. We (mostly I) have some guilt about Dillon, of course. I asked Jason the other day, “Why couldn’t WE give him what he needed?” Jason wisely (and kindly) replied, “But we are. We’re giving him what he needs by sending him there.” And so we are.

God is working…no doubt about that. And we’re finally excited to see what He has in store.