Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A Very Merry Un-Birthday To You!

Can you imagine going through life, at least your childhood, without having a birthday party? I realize their are people who subscribe to a religious doctrine that prohibits celebrating one's birthday, but this wasn't the case.

It was brought to my attention that we have a family member who had never had a real birthday party. There was an attempt that she remembered, but it ended in a disaster. So to help her prepare to celebrate for her upcoming 64th birthday, we held a surprise party for her. She was totally unaware of our plans.

Her party was complete with streamers, balloons, a crown, a cake, MANY candles, and most of all lots of laughter, smiling and great family time.

I can only imagine the pain of not having someone remember YOU on YOUR special day. We each only have one special day that marks our birth. If you haven't celebrated YOU in awhile I think an Un-Birthday is a fabulous way to do so.

Happy Un-Birthday to You!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

A Human Penny Bank

We had a little scare here the other night. Our precious middle child came downstairs with tears in his big brown eyes along with a sincere look of panic. He had just swallowed a penny. My first question was, "Why did you put money in your mouth? and then, Why would you swallow it?" He just shook his head. I think it all happened so fast, before he knew it, it was gone.

So I quickly called the on-call doctor, as it was past normal business hours. Our conversation went as follows:

Doctor: "Hello."

Me: "Is this a doctor?"


"Well, with whom am I speaking?"

"This is Doctor X."

"Hello Doctor X. My son just swallowed a penny. He seems to be fine, but is there anything I should know?"

"I don't have many young children swallow pennies."

I thought to myself, "Well, who cares, I have a kid who DID just swallow a penny."

He then replied, "Well, it should pass. Well, unless it gets lodged and creates an obstruction. Then he may need surgery."

Well, can I say I felt very reassured at this point. Nice! An obstruction! Just what a mom needs to hear.

He then told me to call my regular doctor the following day to let him know and see what he said.

Our doctor said it should pass in 3 days or so. I was supposed to check, but I didn't. I was actually supposed to take a stick and check the contents of the toilet. I'm probably grossing you out so I'll stop.

Well, it's been 3 days. He's doing great! Awesome!! Crisis diverted.

A friend did mention to me, "Your kids seem to do all of 'those' things that we hear some kids do." I agreed.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Living Life In Perspective

Recently we had a chance to get to know 5 amazing young men. They have all lost their parents to AIDS. They are orphans. They have unimaginable joy, kindness, and a zest for life that I rarely see. They awaken in the mornings eager for another day. Their smiles are contagious. They are blessed with gentleness and fill rooms with laughter.

They unknowingly gave me perspective. They showed me what is truly important in life. They showed me contentment. I haven't seen contentment in a LONG time! It looks wonderful!

We (as a culture) have been blessed materially. We have SO much stinkin' stuff! I felt ashamed as I was trying to find a place to put it all before they came. All the stuff just seems to complicate life. We have the stuff, but we don't seem to be filled with the joy. We're consumed with consuming. We don't have contentment although we say we want it. We have the stuff, but no time to enjoy it together. I could go on and on.

The kids we met have Jesus. They have each other. They have their love of music and dance. The use their gifts and they give them away to bless others. Seems so simple.

The lives of these children has been changed thanks to Childcare Worldwide,, and the generous people who chose to sponsor them. There are millions of kids around the world waiting for a sponsor.

A friend shared that she recently received a letter from her sponsored child. The young girl wrote that she prays for her sponsor family every day. She is blessed by their giving, but her gift in return is much greater. Prayer.

So for some perspective... A few weeks ago I was thinking about scheduling a facial. There was a day when I got facials occaisionally, but they're very rare now. Well, as of now I haven't gotten around to it. The reason being... one facial, 2 hours of time, can support a child for 2 MONTHS. Hmmmm.... Now where would that money be better spent??

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Summer Coming to a Close

What a great summer we have had! The many beautiful days of sunshine made for great gardening, lots of time playing outside and many trips to the lake.

Wakeboarding Camp
Making Boats
The kids had quite a few great outdoor adventures. Our oldest got to take wakeboarding lessons. He attended his first week long day camp. The kids had great fun in an outdoor pool. The process of getting that setup was a story in itself. What a nightmare for me! Our oldest found out how much he liked playing baseball. Prior to this summer he thought life revolved around the soccer ball, until he was introduced to the great American past time. We'll watch his career.

The boys also took 5 weeks of swimming lessons and got to compete in their first swim meet. That brought back many good memories for me. Yeah for my swimmer boys!

The garden has been wonderful! We have more tomatoes, zucchini, spaghetti squash and yellow summer squash than we know what to do with.

Painting Boats

Library CardOur middle son got his library card! Huge event! Then he had to get a wallet to put it in. So cute.

We dedicated our youngest this summer also. What an awesome event. Our pastor gave her Colossians 3:17 "And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."

Baby Dedication
In addition to doing activities around the homefront, we were able to attend an exhibition soccer game. It would have been more fun if R & C were with us. Sorry guys! We also made it to a professional baseball game too.

Now it's back to school and hitting the books. It's good to get the routine back, but I'm going to miss the summer...

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Deer Report: Garden Discovery

The garden has been great this summer! We've had lots of peas, lettuce, beets, radishes, raspberries and more. I can't seem to harvest the food quick enough. I'm sad to say some things go to seed before we can eat or give them away.

The word among the animal kingdom spread that we had a bumper crop and couldn't keep up with it. The vegetables were going to waste and the animals weren't going to have it. I think the mice told the birds, who told the rabbits, who then blabbed to the deer that there was an abundance and the getting was good.

The cherry trees were the first to go. One morning I woke up and went out to the garden and there were no longer leaves on the cherry trees. It seemed that the birds, and possibly the coyotes, ate the cherries and then called in the deer to finish the job. It was serious!

We then had company over who wanted to see the garden and much to our surprise we were greeted with beet and strawberry stems. I guess the leafy greens were a big hit! A vegetarian feast!

I've always said I'd plant enough to keep everyone happy, but I wasn't expecting this. I guess netting is our next project...

On the project side: Yesterday we had limestone delivered to finish the pathways throughout the garden and then we'll spread the excess bark. The weeding is never finished, but it's keeps me quiet so I can learn some life lessons.

I've hired a young man to do some weeding for me. While we're out in the garden he tells me that when he gets to heaven he's going to ask God why He made weeds. I tell him that God talks to me while I'm in the garden and if he's really quiet God might just answer his question.

To be quiet... could that could possibly be one of the the reasons for weeds. Our weeds of life need to be dealt with and pulled out so the good can grow. And during the time of pulling the weeds, if we're quiet, we can learn so many other secrets of life.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

On Being Somebody

I had a retirement dinner to attend the other day for someone I worked with in my pre-stay-at-home-mom life. It was an event at a very nice local restaurant so I took extra care in getting ready. I actually put the full make-up on and wore my hair down (not in the usual pony tail) and dressed in nice yet casual summer clothes. I felt like I was heading off for work.

I jumped in the green bug sans kids and felt a sense of excitement to see people from my former life. I had to go through my rolodex of names in my head from that era to refresh myself on who I may be running into. How soon we forget the familiar when we're focused on grocery lists, to-do's, and three children.

I pulled up to the restaurant and saw someone who worked in the same office as me. What was his name??? I wasn't going to get out of the car until I had it on the tip of my tongue. Oh yeah, now I remember...

So off I headed, he was surprised to see me so we spent a few minutes catching up. You know, "How are the kids? How's business?" talk.

I confidently walked into the restaurant and was greeted warmly. Former associates smiled and called me by my first and last name (At home I go by a shortened version of my first name). To hear my full name again sounded so professional and wonderful. I felt like, "I'm somebody and I was somebody important!" In a way I felt like a superstar (only in my head). Oh to be recognized, welcomed, embraced, and celebrated.

I had a great time in the short time I attended the celebration of a fabulous associate. I had to run off to attend a Family Fun BBQ for our oldest at his day camp.

I drove away with the odd feeling of sadness though.

It took me about a year to adjust to being a stay-at-home mom who didn't work outside the home. I used to be a SAHM who did work so I had a little break and received those positive reinforcements one gets by helping others and connecting with other adults .

I kept thinking, in no way do I want to go back to working. I love being at home with my kids focusing my time and energy on them and our home. But the celebration of the person I used to be sure felt good. To be a SOMEBODY and not just somebody's wife or somebody's mom. That kept my mind tossing for a couple of days.

I know God has called me to motherhood for greatness in the future or in future generations, but day-to-day, this is one TOUGH job. Lots of hard work with no recognition. Being a mom is a self-less job and I'm sure one that will cause me to build more character than I thought I needed. Funny sense of humor God has.

Well I ran across this poem tonight written by an Unknown Confederate Soldier. And of course it was perfect for how I am feeling.

I asked for strength that I might achieve;
I was made weak that I might learn humbly to obey.

I asked for health that I might do greater things;
I was given infirmity that I might do better things.

I asked for riches that I might be happy;
I was given poverty that I might be wise.

I asked for power that I might have the praise of men;
I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God.

I asked for all things that I might enjoy life;
I was given life that I might enjoy all things.

I got nothing that I had asked for,
but everything that I had hoped for.

Almost despite myself my unspoken prayers were answered;
I am, among all men, most richly blessed

Monday, June 19, 2006

"When I was..." Our Littlest Tells of Her Life

Our littlest one is a great story teller! I love to listen to her tell a story of life as she knows it. Her stories usually begin with something like.... "When I was a baby girl in China..." or "When I was a baby and I had lots of bottles..."

Well let's point out, she was never a baby girl in China and she never had a bottle. It's so funny to listen to all the stories she comes up with. I don't even know where they come from.

I feel like I should be carrying a video camera around so I can capture these stories while she's telling them. Her verbal skills are amazing as is her memory.

I think she's taking the real life experiences of people we know and incorporating them into her life. We do know a family who adopted a little girl from China and her cousin does have a bottle. Wherever she's getting the stories they are enjoyable.

A real life event is that she began "manastics" (that would be gymnastics to you and me). She is an amazing little gymnast and listens wonderfully. She has mastered the "Crown Finish." Her teacher was amazed at how well she listens, especially with the crown finish both before and after the moves. She loves her class and even volunteers to take a nap prior to gymnastics so she is rested for the class. Amazing!

She has now mentioned that she would like to be a pink ballerina. I guess ballet is in our future. I'm sure we'll be doing all sorts of fun activities. Our little one has big plans!

Little entrepreneurs

Today the kids worked so hard manning their roadside juice and vegetable stand. We have a surplus of lettuces, cilantro, radishes, and bok choy. The kids eagerly set out their table and had their signs ready for every passing car. They sold juice and lettuces and then started selling radishes and bok choy. They worked so hard and never let rejection get them down. They are awesome sales people. I was so proud of them as they marketed their vegetables and refreshments.

At the end of the day they had over $20.00 in sales. WOW!!! Great for these little entrepreneurs. They were so happy and learned a lot about counting money. They plan to give 10% to their charity of choice. The rest they can spend or save. It's interesting seeing the different personalities of the kids as they are evaluating whether or not they will "spend" or "save."

They are eager to do this job again!

Picture Problems

Hi all,

I'm trying to figure out the photo posting on this blog. Sometimes it's works, sometimes it doesn't. I was able to post one photo today and hope to get more on soon. The garden is growing like crazy and I would love to post more pictures. Bear with me as I go through this learning process.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Proud Mama

We recently finished our AWANA year. I'm proud to announce that our oldest completed his third year as an AWANA Sparky and completed the three Sparky books in that time period. This may not seem like much if you're not familiar with AWANA, but in completing 3 books he's memorized approximately 107 Bible verses, 46 of them were done this year.

He has and amazing memory and we can see the benefits of this memory work. He's gaining more than just Bible knowledge, he's gaining a heart connection with God. How AWESOME!

I'm thrilled with the program. For years I've said that I'd like to memorize scripture. Well this is the answer. I've memorized along with him and love it.

Our middle son just competed his 2nd year as an AWANA preschooler and will go into the Sparky program next year. He's done a lot of memorizing also. So cute!

And last, but not least, our littlest girlie will be able to go to the preschool program next year. Amazing to have them all involved! She's really excited. She wanted to go this year, but had to spend the time with mom. The girl time was good.

Don't Worry Dad

Read at your own Risk...

If you have issues with the discussion of bodily functions skip this entry.

We were on a walk the other day while baby girl was trying out her biking skills. Our dog was straining on the side of the road. He'd walk a couple of feet, strain and squat and walk on. Then the'd stop again. Well, Dad was getting frustrated with him because he'd do it on the road rather than on the side of the road. So as dad was instructing our beloved dog to get on the side of the road, Ari says to him, "Don't worry Dad, he just has Dingleberries." Needless to say, I laughed my head off.

She's on a Roll

birLast weekend we celebrated the many family birthdays that occur in the spring. One of which is our littlest one's birthday.

She's been asking for a bike so she can be like, and keep up with her biking brothers. Well, Papa brought up the cutest little Princess bike for our little Princess. Her new bike is equipped with horn, water bottles, a backpack (or handle bar pack), and fancy handle bar decor.

When she first got on she tried to figure out how the pedaling thing worked. Within the day, she was pedaling like a pro and cruising down the road. It was so cute watching her get the hang of it. She was so interested in watching her feet pedal that she would forget to watch the road. We had a couple near misses toward the ditch, but no accidents.

On her second day out she's cruising so fast I have to jog a little to keep up with her.

I must mention also that she is quite the site to see! She packs up her purse and puts it on the handle bars, she packs her water bottles (2 of them, because you know how sweaty a 3 year old can get), and her My Little Pony helmet. I love it! So cute!!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Scary Moment!

Well, I was just relaxing reading my email and enjoying a moment and through the hole in our sliding screen door bounds our declawed, overweight (close to 20 pounds), indoor cat. I thought he was just enjoying a few minutes on the back deck. Or maybe he was under the back deck.

He proudly pranced in with something dangling from his mouth. That something was a MOUSE!! The mouse was just stunned enough that I was able to run into the garage grab a shovel and shoo our cat away so I could scoop the mouse up and THROW him back outside where he belongs. OOOOOooooooooo YUCK!!! I'm not crazy about the things, especially when they are in our house. Definitely not where they belong.

How our cat managed to catch something that should be much quicker and agile is a mystery to me. No more hunting for the evening. I should have a talk with him, I don't mind him taking care of business, just don't don't bring your trophies indoors.

Schooling In The Garden

Yesterday we did school in the garden. It was such a beautiful day we couldn't stay cooped up in the house. So out the kids went with backpacks on and lunchboxes in hand. We sat in our arbor looking at the mountains and did our Bible time. We read about Paul on a ship during a terrible storm and about listening and trusting God in our tough times.

After Bible we read two books we checked out at the library. One was Pick, Pull, Snap! Where a Flower Once Bloomed, by Lola M. Schaeffer. It showed how a flower forms on a tree or a plant and it is from the flower that the fruit comes. After reading this book we went all around the garden looking at the flowering apple and cherry trees, the flower buds on the raspberries, the flowers on the strawberries, and the flowers on the blueberries. What great science and so much fun too!

After that we read, Who is in the Garden? by Vera Rosenberry. We talked about all of the great plants and trees we have in the garden/yard that are also in the book.

While the boys worked on their math I rototilled an area to plant some more beets. We love beets and I learned of a few new varieties that are supposedly sweeter than regular beets. We planted Blankoma beets which are white table beet, Chioggia which are an Italian variety with light red round roots and bright pink and white alternating interior rings, and Red Ace Hybrids. Some of these we will eat and others we will pickle. What a great treat for all!!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

First Harvest of 2006

This morning I went out and worked in the garden and much to my pleasant surprise the radishes were already ready to harvest. I have quite a few so I think I'll be making a salad I recently saw that had pork, radishes, cilantro and a few other things in it. Yum!!

I also planted tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, artichokes and lavender. These plantings were in the 4th of the 4X12 foot raised beds we built. The other three were planted last weekend. I have strawberries in one, the other two are filled with lettuces, carrots, beets, herbs, melons, and more. I'll take some photos as things begin to grow.

Friday, May 05, 2006

What does daddy need for his birthday??

Daddy had a birthday recently and when the kids and I were out looking and trying to figure out what to get him our youngest son piped up, "I know what dad needs!"

I responded, "What does dad need?"

Now remember this little guy is post-Seinfeld and has never seen the show before in his life. He then excitedly replies, "Let's get him a Man Purse!"

Without hesitation I laughed my head off! That's just what our dad needs. We all got a good laugh from that one!

Happy Birthday!!

Be Careful!

It has been a season of accidents lately. Recently two of our kiddos were playing. Middle brother was pulling baby girl around around the wood floors on a fleece blanket. One can usually hear me saying, "Don't swing wide, slow down around the corners."

Well as I'm sure you can guess they got to playing and missed the "don't swing wide" lesson and "bam" baby girl hit the corner of the wall.

Needless to say, we made a VERY quick trip to the doctor's office for stitches in her forehead.

From a mom's point of view, I don't know if there is anything much worse than sitting by your child while they scream for you to make it better. We sat in tears together through this experience.

Then last week, while at a friend's house, our oldest took a spill off a bike and broke his hand.

After it happened, we suspected there was something wrong, but didn't take him in until the following day. He didn't complain about it, but it seemed much too swollen.

Well, Big brother now has a nice short cast on his hand. Never a dull moment!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Little House in the Big Woods

We're working our way through Laura Ingalls's first book, Little House in the Big Woods. I can't say I remember reading the book as a young girl, so I'm really enjoying this experience.

The book thoroughly describes life in the big woods and we have had so many great discussions about how different our lives would be if we were born in a different era.

making butter

The Butter Ball

In Laura's day, one day was set aside for making butter. Ma would churn the cream and make the butter. What a great activity for our family! So the kids and I bought some whipping cream (believe it or not we didn't milk it directly from the cow) and shook it and shook it until it thickened so much it "outgrew" the container we had it in. We then decided to speed up the process and put the thickened cream in the blender (that's how my mom did it). The thickened cream quickly began to form a ball of butter. We then removed the butter from the blender and squeezed out the extra buttermilk and had our own large ball of BEAUTIFUL butter. What great fun!

This week we also read about "hasty pudding." We made our own hasty pudding yesterday following lunch. We made two types. One type was made with corn meal. That's the type Laura had. The other type we made is one that I enjoyed with my Papa and Grandma in the evenings when I lived with them. My Papa said his mom used to make if for him when he was young.

Laura's hasty pudding was made by boiling water and slowly adding cornmeal until it thickened. We let it set covered until it cooled and then we added a little sweetner to it. For my Papa and Grandma's hasty pudding we heated milk on the stove and added flour until it had a thick pudding type consistency. I then spooned the pudding in bowls and we topped it with a little butter, sugar and cinnamon. We added a little more milk to it also.

The Importance of Journaling

Last weekend a friend asked, "What was the greatest thing that happened in the last week?" Wow, what a question! We do so many wonderful activities, but they're gone like a blur as the days pass. I couldn't remember one event from the past week, even though we did so many memorable things.

At that moment, I realized when I write down our memories I'm much more likely to be able to recall them. Lately the kids have been asking me, almost daily, questions like, "Mom tell me what I did when I was a baby. Tell me what I was like." I'm finding that in the process of life, I'm forgetting what I thought was engraved in memory banks of my mind. So for the preservation of our family events I journal in this blog. Then when family asks, "What did you do last week?" We can all look to the blog and recall.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


I worked in the garden again yesterday, busily planting some seeds. I took this photo before I had planted. The focus this year will be on more flowers and less vegetables as we are not able to eat everything that comes up. Last year I canned, froze, gave away, and donated to the food bank and still there were some things that just went to the compost pile because I couldn't keep up.

So yesterday I planted carrots, french marigolds, african marigolds, stock, cosmos (orange, pink, yellow, white mix), teddy bear sunflowers, gaillardia, bells of ireland, and larkspur. I hope to have a nice cutting garden this summer.

Tomorrow we'll level the garden out and make the paths and figure where the grass will grow.

I'm off to find some boards to make raised beds for the strawberries.

Friday, April 14, 2006

How Does My Garden Grow??

After the overwhelming task of maintaining a HUGE garden (about 40X150) last year we decided to scale down and rethink my garden. We had a landscape designer draw a new plan for us. Last fall I moved the trees, blueberries, grapes, strawberries, and rhubarb to different locations as to make room for more grass and paths and less planting areas and weeds.

The whole garden just went through the 2nd tilling and I've been able to plant a couple things. I ended up having to transplant the peas I had planted as I didn't take into account the new grass pathway that is going in.

So today, between rain showers, I transplanted my peas--All 125 of them and put them in new rows. Now I realize that doesn't seem like I'm downsizing, but really I am. I saved one of the sprouts that was a great lesson for the kids to see the pea that split open, the sprout that has grown, and the long roots.

I've also planted some lettuce mixes, beets, radishes and have about 100+ strawberry plants to replant. But first I need to build the raised beds for the strawberry plants. The rhubarb is also growing quite well.

We'll keep you posted on how the garden grows.

Some Photos From Mississippi Mission Trip

As you will see in the photos, the devastation in Mississippi is still very evident. Although the hurricane was over 7 months ago, the landscape, the homes, and the towns are far from being restored. I've realized through these photos how controlled we are by the media. It's an "Out of sight, out of mind" situation. We don't realize that there are still so many people down there who are still without or who have just walked away from everything. The truth is really sobering.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

On A Mission

This week my kid's Daddy left for a mission trip to the Gulf Coast. He phoned last night to tell us about his first full day. They went to the home of an couple who are living in a FEMA trailer. They have a shed that needs the roof put on.

I'm not completely sure how this couple got on the list for help, but when the group showed up they were shocked by the number of people who came to help. The older man spoke to the person in charge and said, "I can't possibly pay this many people to help me." The person then responded that it was all taken care of and there was no need to pay. My sweetheart said the man then stood there and sobbed.

When my hub, told me the story I couldn't help but cry my eyes out too. He then said that so many people or organizations have told this couple that they'd be there and then never show. And what impressed them is that this mission group said they'd be there, showed up on time, and are eager to work.

Today they're going to finish the roof on the shed and then move on to other projects. We'll see how God uses this group in the upcoming days.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

A Great Good Morning

I awoke to cathedral bells chiming at 7:00 am. No we're not vacationing in some European village. The bells were from Oldest son's alarm clock. Last night he set his alarm so he could awake early and give me a special surprise.

After the bells chimed, he came in my room and instructed me to stay in bed. He had BIG plans.

About a 1/2 hour later he reappeared dressed in a striped button shirt and one of Dad's floral, early 90's, ties carrying a tray with breakfast and a latte. SO CUTE!! What a sweet thing to do for mom!

He's been blessing me so greatly lately. The other night he cleaned the whole kitchen by himself. He washed dishes by hand, dried them, and put them all away. He kept saying, "Mom, you have a really hard job. Just when I think I'm done, I turn around and there's more!"

I'm feeling pretty appreciated today!

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Catching Up

Greetings and Happy New Year!

We recently attended a wedding of a friend. It was such a beautiful celebration and a great time to get together with friends.