Friday, December 31, 2010

a new year….

masted ship 

Our family ship has come into harbor. The sails are up, even if they are thin. The hull has patches, but it’s intact. We’ve taken on water, but we’ve also bailed it. Pirates have boarded, but David and I have fought them off together, and we’re stronger for it.

I don’t know exactly what the New Year will bring. Nobody does. I’m sure it will be full of its share of beauty and struggle just like every year I can remember….

But I’m taking this post from Ann Voskamp as my mantra for the year. Worries assault me from all sides on a lot of days. How will we do it all? How will we survive and thrive when this and this and that happen?

Fear about the future is an enemy that wants to steal my joy. I need to learn, over and over again, to live here and now…

Sunday, December 26, 2010

cozy in a winter wonderland…


This isn’t our current snow, but it looks just like it. I’m too lazy to upload current pics… =) We got about 6 inches of Christmas snow!!! It started around 7:00 p.m. on Christmas Day, and it came down all night long and all day today until lunch…

David rigged up a sled with a laundry basket and long pieces of duct tape for handles. Very classy. He managed to pull Seth around in it after a few false tries to get his technique down. He had to bribe Seth with cake to try it again after he accidentally dumped him the first few times. It worked… =)

They made a giant snowman with the wet, powdery snow. I’m glad David got pictures. He’s impressive. Baby Jesus donated some of his gold coins for eyes. Our snowman has bling…

This has been one Christmas to remember… We feel so blessed today. We’re cozied up together in soft, white stillness, Christmas lights twinkling over the mantel, soft afghans wrapped around us as we read books and play cars.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

merry Christmas!



Merry Christmas from our littlest Wise Man (who carries Jesus’s presents in the hood of his robe)….



… and from our biggest Wise Man, who carries them with his desert giraffe. =)

Wise men still seek Him….

Friday, December 17, 2010

THe simple woman’s day book…

For more Simple Woman’s Daybook, go to

Outside my window... the sky is gray, the air is frigid, and there are little patches of snow that haven’t melted yet in the backyard.

I am thinking... that I’m having trouble getting my brain to wake up today. It’s drowsy. =)

I am thankful for... a warm house with working heat, that today is Friday, and that we don’t have too many plans for the weekend.

From the learning rooms... Seth is making circles on the Magnadoodle and having me count them, and we did a set of progressive puzzles with increasing numbers of pieces this morning. He is also playing with the small plastic bugs that he only gets to play with when Evan naps. =)

From the kitchen... thawing chicken to cook later for chicken chimichangas. Glad that I have leftover toffee bark from last night’s party to serve to our dinner guests tomorrow night.

I am wearing... gray exercise pants, a navy shirt from Goodwill that says “Hangin’ with my peeps,” and a brown sweater. Very stylish, I know. Oh, and dirty white bedroom slippers.

I am going... to an indoor playground with the boys after lunch. And to pick up some plantains for fried plaintains tomorrow.

I am reading... “Father Brown: The Essential Tales”- by G.K. Chesterton

I am hoping... that David doesn’t come down with the cold he thinks he might be starting.

I am hearing... “I’ve got to get a hitcher for my tractor,”- Seth, and the hum of the fridge.

Around the house... I’m hoping to lay a fire in the fireplace when the kids go down for naps. Lets not even talk about the shower I’ve been avoiding cleaning for weeks…

One of my favorite things... Christmas lights over the mantel.

A few plans for the rest of the week…making cupcakes and icing for Baby Jesus’s birthday breakfast, putting together the wise man presents for Seth and Evan to deliver to him on Christmas Day, dusting, etc.

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...


That’s my mentor mom, Lisa, and the fabulous table she put together for our MOPs Christmas tea. I think we get the award for tallest candlesticks. =)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

snowy day fun…

DSC_1037 taken on our snowy mountain vacation…

We woke up to snow on the ground this morning… not much, but enough to cancel schools in N.C. and make a pretty white dusting all over everything…

What to do on a snowy day?

- Eat homemade gingerbread, prepped the night before…

- Make an easy snow scene- I cut up some cotton balls and gave Seth a sheet of blue construction paper. He glued them on as if they were falling from the sky, and then we did a nice layer of big ones across the bottom for snow drifts on the ground…

- Look at pictures of snowflakes on the internet… Seth told me unprompted that snow was frozen water. Sooo proud…

- Read lovely snowy day books like The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats, The Mitten by Alvin Tresselt, Owl At Home by Arnold Lobel (he has the sweetest cozy fireside scenes in a lot of his books), and Little Bear by Else Holmelund Minarik

- Put the big boy in rain boots, a coat, and a hat and let him explore the back yard while watching from the windows… He stays out for 5 minutes. I don’t blame him. =)

Toffee Pretzel bark…

I just made this bark for a party tonight, and it is easily the best I’ve ever had.

I’ll post the link, but here are my modifications…

1 12 oz. bag of dark chocolate chips
¾ cup broken pretzel pieces
¾ cup Heath toffee pieces, divided
6 ounces white chocolate chips

1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

2. In a microwave on low power, melt the dark chocolate, stirring until the chocolate is smooth. Remove from the heat, and stir in all of the pretzel pieces and ½ cup of the toffee pieces. Spread the mixture on the prepared baking sheet. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

3. Melt the white chocolate in the same manner as you did the dark chocolate, stirring until completely smooth. Remove the baking sheet from the refrigerator and spread the white chocolate on top of the hardened dark chocolate layer. Sprinkle with the remaining toffee, using your palm to lightly press them into the white chocolate. Return the pan to the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

4. Use a sharp knife to cut the bark into pieces. (I usually just press the tip of the knife into the bark and let it break into pieces/shards.) Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

cranium cariboo…


Hey, y’all. Sorry so silent for awhile. We’ve been vacationing in the mountains, and I’m still catching back up with regular life…

While we were there, we pulled out this game to play with Seth. I got it for $1 at a great thrift store I know near the beach where all the people who own fancy houses take the barely used board games that their children have outgrown. Ahem.

Anyway, I really, really liked it. It’s a wonderful learning game for a preschooler. It tests a variety of knowledge skills in one game in a way that was engaging for Seth, and that is hard for me to find in a game. The board is a series of squares that flip open to reveal compartments when your preschooler inserts a large plastic key in the locks above them.

You can play beginner or advanced. The cards on the squares have words, shapes, and colors on them. You draw a card, and the child has to match the number, color, or shape on the card to one on one of the squares. Seth really got into it. He could pick out a letter C at the beginning of a word or count that there were 3 triangles on one card. He loved opening the square with the key if he was right.

Some of the squares have rubber balls in them. The child takes them out and puts them down a chute. Once he finds all 6 balls and puts them down the chute, a little treasure chest opens.

It was easy for me to see that he had the number 1 down, but 2 and 3 were tougher for him. He correctly identified B and C every time, but not A. I learned a lot about where he is right now from this game, and he improved at recognizing his letters and numbers every time we played.

It looks like this game might not be made anymore, and that makes it kind of expensive on Amazon. But if you see if used somewhere, snap it up. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed…

Any great toddler games out there that you love? Do tell….

Friday, December 03, 2010

When all the gifts are for him…

There is a fantastic Christian blogger named Ann Voskamp whose family doesn’t exchange presents on Christmas morning… just like us! I emailed her, and she included our tradition in this wonderfully helpful article. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Nativity and advent ideas…

I figured that its about time to pull out my nativity and advent links…

We’ll start with this one from She Laughs At The Days… you can transform that tacky Santa advent calendar into something more meaningful with just a little artistic flair…

Here’s a printable Nativity scene for your children to color and glue. My kids are a little young yet, but I’m planning to keep this link..

We’re using this simple list of Advent readings this year… scroll down for the readings, copy and paste into Word…

And here are some simple Advent activities that looked really accessible for preschoolers…

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

how to homeschool your kindergartener

I just came across this website that I’ve had in my favorites tab forever, and I was encouraged by this article. It’s a good read for those of us who have yet to reach kindergarten…

Anyone read Beechick’s book, “The Three R’s”? I’ve got a call in to mom to see if she has it in the ol’ library, but I don’t remember seeing it…

Saturday, November 20, 2010

at home…


“Here, then, at home, by no more storms distrest,

Folding laborious hands we sit, wings furled;

Here in close perfume lies the rose-leaf curled,

Here the sun stands and knows not east or west,

Here no tide runs; we have come, last and best,

From the wide zone through dizzying circles hurled,

To that still centre where the spinning world

Sleeps on its axis, to the heart of rest.”- Dorothy Sayers

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The man who writes student papers tells his story…

This is fascinating and horrible.

I have an M.A. in History. Over my years getting that degree, I wrote hundreds of pages. My classes were small, and I think that everyone there wrote their own papers… but how do I know?

Cheating did not seem to be rampant in the government department at my undergraduate college. I heard stories that it was in other departments…

I wonder how my boys will be able to compete grade wise with students who are paying professionals to write their papers. Is this going to artificially raise the standard for them?

Well, maybe not. Most kids I know of don’t have $2,000 to pay for a paper…


Jury came back after 4 hours of deliberation. Guilty on all charges.

He’s my rock star. My tired rock star. =)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

his world…

My husband invited me into his world this week.

I stopped by court on my way to the children’s museum with the little guy last week. I just wanted a glimpse at the results of the hard work he’d been doing for weeks now.

I cracked the door, baby on hip, and one of his co-workers saw me. She offered to watch Evan so I could sit and watch for a few minutes. So I did.

On Saturday, David came to me with a proposal. He wanted me to be able to watch him cross examine the defendant and see his closing argument. He said he’d be willing to call Mom and ask her to come and watch the boys so I could go.

So he did. And I went. I sat in the back of the courtroom this morning and yesterday afternoon. I watched him sitting at counsel table. I watched the reactions of jurors to his questions. I saw him truly excel at his job, and I heard his co-workers give him the praise that I certainly thought he deserved.

Court is an odd place to be. I sat on one side with agents and some of David’s co-workers, and most of the defendant’s family and friends sat on the other. I avoided eye contact with them and with juror’s at all times.

I am rooting for my husband. He’s been talking to me about this case for weeks now, and I watched the direct examination of the defendant. In my opinion, David came back and nailed him to the wall with his own lies. Looking at the faces of the jurors, I think several of them agreed. I was proud of him, pushing hard for truth and justice for those who had been stolen from.

I am glad that he asked me to enter into this experience with him. I’m glad he wanted me there to cheer him on when he’s weary and praying hard that God will lead his questioning.

It’s a little disorienting moving between this world and his world. They bear no resemblance to each other right now. His is all suits and struggle and weariness and adrenalin. Mine is all temper tantrums and storytime and weariness and poopy diapers. But I’m glad that I went for this short time, even though I wish it was more, and I sometimes wish I could enter in more fully. It makes me better able to pray for and understand what he’s dealing with, and it makes me a little part of his team.

I don’t feel sorry for the defendant. He is still quite defiant, and I think he deserves the jail time I hope he will get for his actions. I do feel for his family. It looked like some of his children might’ve been in court today. They weren’t smiling. They probably hate my husband right now. Disturbing thought, really. They didn’t choose their father… none of us do.

But I came away so thankful that my husband takes the time and effort to try and bring me into his work life… even when it isn’t convenient, and he has a million other things to be thinking about besides that. Just one more of the reasons I’m still crazy about him after all these years….

Friday, November 12, 2010

praying for my sons…

I feel fragile these days. Strained, I guess.

But I’m learning that I’m closest to God when I’m the weakest. It has been that way for years with me, really. Time to embrace it, I guess. When I am most in control, He feels the most distant, and that isn’t what I want.

I pray for Evan a lot of evenings as I rock him before bed. He can’t fully understand me, so it’s easier for me to be free with my prayers for him.

Tonight was one of those nights that I felt most pleading with God. I told Him that I just can’t do it all, and I know it. I told Him that I don’t have what it takes to bring my children to His feet. I am too full of doubts, too weak in faith, too pathetic to give my children the heritage of faith that I wish I could. I mean it; this is not empty humility trying to say the acceptable words.

I pleaded for Him to touch their hearts, to open their eyes, to draw them to Himself. I begged Him for rich grace to overcome all the ways I do and will continue to fall short as their mother.

I am not reformed. I believe that God has chosen to limit Himself in one essential way. He does not force us to choose Him. (See Matthew 23:37 for one example of this.) But I pray for His wooing of their hearts and for their acceptance of His gracious salvation… I don’t know exactly how it all works, but I know that they need Him.

He has never failed me. No, not even when I railed at Him because I thought He had. I will have the grace I need for each day… and probably no more than that. =) It will be enough.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

WHat is success in blogging?

Just. read. it.

This is why I don’t make my blog private… even though I’ve been tempted.

A gal struggling with infertility found my blog through googling the ART program of Alabama, and she told me my blog ministered to her. And so this blog continues to be searchable.

I have no clue who reads here really. I have Sitemeter, but it doesn’t tell me much. If you’re reading this through a feed reader, I have no clue who you are. I’m ok with that.

I’m a stay at home mom, a wife, a mother, a struggler, a fighter, a doubter… and if my stories help you and make you feel less alone, I’ll pull a couple of feathers out for you. Sharing our stories is a gift and a blessing to the Body of Christ and to those outside it looking in. I’m trying not to be afraid of doing that, even if it might get misunderstood….

I found a valentine…

I found a Valentine today in a pile of junk on top of the microwave. David wrote lovely things to me in it. It was good to find it, and I am grateful to God for giving me a bit of my husband’s love today in a time when I’m not seeing him much.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Evan at 17 months…


Ahhh, Evan. I haven’t blogged much about his milestones or changes because I just seem to forget that intention when I get to the computer. No excuses… bad mommy (slap slap).

Well, my little passionate adventurer is now 17 months old. He learned to walk a couple of weeks ago, and now he toddles quickly in circles around the house, showing us the little cars that he holds in his tiny fists, pulling necklaces on and off his head, etc., etc.

He is a talker. I don’t think I’ve ever heard another child this age talk so much… well, maybe. I had a little boy in my toddler class ages ago that talked this much, but that’s it. We’re talking full sentences, people. “That’s MY cup!” “You see it?” “It’s a excavator.” (Yes, he can say excavator, and it sounds like excavator.) He’s got easily a 100 words or more. He’s great company, and you rarely have to wonder what he’s thinking. Hmmm, sounds like someone else I know. =)

He LOVES to read books. He’ll bring books over to me, and when I plop him on my lap, he settles in a bit, squeals wildly with contented anticipation, and then waits to be entertained. He comments and points and enjoys the reading immensely. Now, if you don’t read him a book, (and it must be a book of his choosing), he will display his passionate disappointment as intensely as his passionate pleasure. He will throw himself to the floor and begin to sob stormily if he isn’t read his choice of book. “DIS BOOK! DIS BOOK!”

He’s very polite. Learned it from the older brother. He spontaneously says a tiny “thank you” when you give him something or help him with something. Watching the surprised looks on adults’ faces when he does this is fun for me. I didn’t really teach it, Seth did, but I can enjoy it. Oh, he also says “bless you” after he sneezes. =)

This is also the child that could care less if I’m within his sight. If he’s down, I have to watch him ‘cause he’s off and running. I’m really appreciating the kindness of random moms to bring him back because he’ll get pretty far before I can catch him sometimes.

He’s eaten a binder clip. Yes, a very tiny one. I’m glad I didn’t know about it until after he threw it up in the bathtub when David was giving him a bath. It wouldn’t have been funny if I hadn’t have seen the end of the adventure before I knew about the beginning of it. We’ve laughed about it many times since.

And as another example of his personality, I offer this… We went to Kohl’s last night, and we were in children’s clothes. I had him in the stroller. Well, he saw a large plastic riding car right across the aisle and started shouting “Car! Car!” and squirming to get down. Feeling indulgent, I let him down. He toddled purposefully over to the car display, grabbed a large boxed car from on top of another boxed car, wrestled it to the ground, and then proceeded to sit on top of it. Then he yelled, “Push! Push!” and seemed bewildered that it wouldn’t go anywhere. (The wheels were in a box bottom). And when I took him off, he cried lustily all the way to the cash register.

Every night when I rock him to bed, he pulls his little head off my chest and says “Jesus Loves Me.” He continues to repeat it until I sing Jesus Loves Me. He sings along. And when I pray for him as he lies in his crib, he pops his little head up and says “Amen!” after me. Every. single. night. =)

He’s so much fun. And he’s brought me a book and climbed up on my lap now, so I must depart. =)

Sunday, November 07, 2010

ummm…. thankful for?

Well, this afternoon I’m thankful that naptime is here… finally…

And I’m thankful that I’m no longer at church, holding a squirming 17 month old on my hip and dragging a screaming 3-year-old down the hall…

And I’m thankful that that time that seemed like an eternity was actually only a few minutes long…

We’re hanging in there… but it’s been hard since I’ve been back home with them. Seth really didn’t get enough sleep during the week at his Nana and Papa’s, and that made things hard there. Coming home hasn’t helped much.

We prayed together after the 4th disciplinary action of the day that I’d be patient and not angry and that he’d obey better so I didn’t have to punish him. I felt one of his tears on my hand as I was praying. And that wasn’t easy for me either.

Today was also one of the first times that he’s noticed my mood and commented on it. I had been quiet on the way home because I was sad and tired, and when we were home, and I was fixing lunch, he said, “Mommy, are you sad?” I hate that he notices that I’m sad. But I’m glad he’s paying attention to other people’s moods, I guess.

I’m driving Seth to meet his Mimi tomorrow. He’ll be staying at Mimi and Pop Pop’s for a week all by himself! His grandparents had wanted him to come for a visit, and this seemed like a good time to do that. I’m going to miss him, but I’m also glad to get a little one on one time with Evan….

Saturday, November 06, 2010

There is no tea party movement?

I just came across this article by Joe Carter on First Things….

I think there’s a lot of truth here. The Tea Party movement is full of disgruntled conservatives that are too conservative for the current Republican party… as well as full of average Americans who decided that they are more conservative than they thought they were once Obama and the Democratic congress got to work…

I agree with him that there is an attempt on to marginalize the anger of Americans by labeling them as “Tea Party.” This frustration can’t be put into a box and placated by making the “Tea Party” into another special interest group. I don’t think it is one…

Anyway… click and enjoy.



A cold, wet, blustery day… but all is warm and well inside. Big boy reads my old children’s books with me, all salvaged from the neatly labeled boxes in Mom and Dad’s attic. The fridge is home to Mom’s homemade beef soup, lovingly packed up for us and for the tired husband, still in the midst of his travails…

Bathtime after lunch. Little green snake can “swim”, and maybe I’ll get to clean the bathroom while they play. Should I make bread or homemade brownies during nap? Bread, I think… then David will have something really good to eat his sandwiches on for another long week of trial. And I’ll lay the first fire of the season in the fireplace then… we’ll roast marshmallows with Daddy after dinner. Seth loves marshmallows…

Evan eats applesauce sprinkled with cinnamon for lunch. The noodles for box macaroni and cheese bubble behind me on the stove. Timer’s going off… time to make the big boy’s lunch…

Sunday, October 31, 2010

happy halloween…


From my little fly fisherman….


and our baby dinosaur…

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Campaign ad perspective…

And for a little negative campaigning perspective, try this on for size, you son of a nutmeg dealer…

Thursday, October 28, 2010

D is for dog…

Preschool is on Friday this week. =) Wednesday came and went without it…

D is for Dog

- Draw the letter D on the Magnadoodle. Have him attempt to copy it. Talk about words that start with letter D.

- D bag- pull out D items

- Read The Great Dog Wash Jamboree. Talk about dogs. Let him brush our visiting dog, my “brother,” Albert. =)

- Collect some fresh leaves and make wax paper leaves.

- Printed out this D worksheet, and let him dot the D’s with bingo marker.

- Play Alphabet Bingo, a game I inherited from my Great Aunt Mary, a preschool teacher. She has many bingo cards with multiple letters and numbers on them. You call out the letters, and if they get bingo, they get a little prize.

- Read new books from the library.


Seth seems to really like the repetition of drawing the letter on the Magnadoodle and doing the letter bag each week. He looks forward to it, so we’re continuing to do it because of the comforting routine it gives.

I was also pointed to this website by my friend, Rachel. Honestly, there is WAY more than I’d ever want to do here, and the panic that a site like this can induce could be prohibitive. Some homeschool mom blogs leave me with a guilty “Wow, what a homeschooling mother… I am a slug.” feeling. But, my mom reminds me that homeschooling is a marathon, not a sprint, so I’m not going to fret… yet. And this is great stuff if you can get past feelings of inadequacy and enjoy what she so graciously provides!



- For a computer that works again, and for a friend to lead me to good people to fix it….

- A refreshing afternoon nap…

- Pajama pants…

- God’s leading to head to the children’s museum yesterday, spur of the moment. It was exactly the break from fussing that I needed. Just get me a t-shirt that says, “I’m a reactive parent”. =)

- A newly walking 16-month-old…. walking actually slows him down currently. =)

- Daddy coming home tonight for dinner and the library costume party…

- My little fisherman and my little dinosaur…

- A friend’s stellar post roast that made dinner for me and sandwiches for David…

- Boys who played happily in the tub last night so I could clean out under all the bathroom cabinets…

- Being able to talk through the latest parenting challenges on the phone with David as he drove home late last night….

- Trader Joe’s dark chocolate covered caramels. Heaven in a plastic tub…

Sunday, October 24, 2010

kristin lavransdatter…

Well, I just finished Sigrid Undset’s Kristin Lavransdatter, and I feel a tad bit bereft. At 1124 pages, this book has been with me all week! =)

There aren’t many books that I’ve picked up that I would really like to add to my home library. I’m not a book buying gal; I get most books from the library, and I don’t usually read a novel more than once.

That said, I would like to own this one. It’s hard to describe exactly what is so meaningful about it…. but it’s a beautifully written portrait of a woman’s life, from birth to marriage, through motherhood and child rearing, and then from widowhood to death. Her sins and struggles and joys feel real and painful and fresh, and I related to her in many painful ways as she struggled to love God and her family and serve them well, conscious as she was of her own sins and failings.

But I’m having trouble contemplating the joys of literature while a sick baby coughs and whines for me to read him “Noah’s Ark” for the 4,381st time, so I shall depart now. =)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

computer virus and more….

Sorry about not posting our letter of the week “preschool” this week. Our computer was hit with a virus, so our computer guy had to come and get it and fix it up for us. I’m thankful for him… he’s kind, and he doesn’t charge an arm and a leg.

Oh, and if you have a screen pop up that tells you your computer is being attacked by viruses and you need to run antivirus, don’t click anything. It’s a virus that will download on your hard drive if you click anything. Shut down the computer, unplug your internet connection, and hope it didn’t get on there… Never, under any circumstances, should you sign up for this program’s “antivirus software.” They will take your credit card info… and then steal you blind. I’m glad I don’t know anything about the stealing thing firsthand.

The computer virus was a bad thing, but not such a bad thing. I actually enjoyed the internet fast. It’s been too long since I’ve done one. Since the computer is in my kitchen, its far too easy to pop on it when the boys are playing. I have an easier time concentrating and being a part of their play if I’m sitting with a book on my lap than with the computer screen up.

And in the past few days of computer free living, Evan has learned to walk. He’s truly walking now, at least half the time. He can push himself up to standing, and then he stumbles from place to place like a tiny drunken sailor. He can even carry us books, and when he falls down, he says, “Boom!” It’s stinkin’ cute.

In other news, I may be scarce on here, or I may be posting a lot. We’re entering another season of lots of work for David and single motherhood for me. Could be 3 weeks, could be longer. If you think of us, pray for us. I am struggling with anger and frustration and a trapped feeling.

I need to learn how to give David’s job over to God. This is the 3rd year he’s been with the job. The first year was great, the 2nd year sucked, and the 3rd year has been hard at times. I thought last year was a fluke, but I’m learning that the things I hate will apparently be with us always. That’s hard for me to accept. I fight it. I don’t want to make everybody around me miserable with my bad attitude, so I’m trying to learn how to cope better. I’ve been blessed to have family and friends help me when we’re daddyless around here, though I can’t do very much to lighten my husband’s load. We’re going to make it… but it’s hard for me.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

first kiss…

Last night was special for me and Evan. As I lotioned him down and put him in his nightshirt and sleep sack, he kept looking toward the wall by the window. And, in his tiny voice, he said, “Doggie!” “Doggie!”

I remembered when I bought that vintage puzzle of a dog. I was out with my best friend, and we’d stopped by a neighborhood junk shop. It was the kind where you roam through and look at the different displays set up by various dealers. The dog and cat puzzles were cheap, and I snapped them up. I can’t remember whether I was pregnant with Evan or not yet, but I know that I had them in mind for the wall of our next child’s room.

That little child has just learned to recognize them and call them by name.

I hugged him to me and brushed his damp blonde curls. I held him in front of the mirror in my room, and I thought to ask, “Evan, will you give Mommy a kiss?” He’s been saying “kiss” lately, but I still wasn’t prepared for him to smile and lean toward me with his mouth wide open in the way of brand new baby kissers everywhere.

Two heart clenching moments in one night. My cup runneth over.

A masterpiece of prose…

This resonates deeply with me. Has he been to my house? Just read it… oh, and the end is the best. Hat tip to Amy’s Humble Musings…

homeschooling smorgasbord…

Hi, all! Well, the MOPs school forum went well this year. I had several more questions given to me than I had last year, and another added bonus was that the leader of this local church’s support group showed up to talk to interested moms… me included. =)

I feel encouraged because I’m noticing more interest in homeschooling around me, and its nice to be able to answer questions, give encouragement, and share my experiences. And in light of that, here is a smorgasbord of info I’ve heard about and links to enjoy…

In the category of the reasons to homeschool, here are my favorite posts:

- This one from Brandy at Afterthoughts has been more meaningful to me than any other I’ve come across so far. It resonates because I’ve seen the benefit firsthand of having time to of build a rich, family culture of Christian life and learning.

- In the same vein, here are some thoughts from Ann Voskamp at A Holy Experience…

Books I’ve enjoyed on homeschooling…

- For the Children’s Sake- Susan Schaeffer Macaulay- a classic. My mom gave me her copy.

- The Charlotte Mason Companion- a great, practical explanation of Charlotte Mason’s philosophy of education. I had read bits and fragments here and there about her views of teaching the child, but this was a great read for putting flesh on how to go about it practically. I got lots of good ideas and saw how a lifestyle of learning is built on the framework given by Charlotte Mason.

- In light of the last book, see Wikipedia’s entry on Charlotte Mason, especially the Teaching Methods section. It’s a good, short summary for Charlotte Mason neophytes.

- A Survivor’s Guide to Homeschooling- this is another oldie but goodie from my mom’s library. It’s a light read, it’s realistic about the good and bad and ugly, and even though its a bit dated on some things, like how most outsiders will view homeschooling (keep your kids indoors during school hours or your neighbors will call the truant officer, etc.) , I found a lot of truth there. It was a good one to give to my husband, and it led to some fun talks with him.

And I’ve wasted enough time now at 4:00 in the morning with this little bout of insomnia. =) I hope some of you find these helpful in your educational quest. I may post curriculum resources I’ve enjoyed at some point, but that’s a post for another day…

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

C is for Cookie…

Today’s alphabet preschool lesson:

- Write the letter C on the Magnadoodle and have him practice making c’s…

- C bag filled with items that start with C- car, cookie, etc.

- Make a Collage with glue stick and magazine pictures of animals

- Watch C is for cookie on YouTube and sing along =)

- Play our vintage Circocolor game (spin the brush on the palate with different colors and put the puzzle piece of the color you land on in the puzzle)

- Read the Frog and Toad Story about eating too many Cookies. I love that story. =)

- Eat Crackers and Cheese for snack…

Monday, October 11, 2010

Help me, homeschoolers!

Ok, so I’m representing all homeschoolers everywhere again tomorrow at the MOPs school forum. Fun. =)

This time I pulled together some info on local homeschooling groups and places to buy curriculum, etc.

But I need help with a sweet, non-offensive, deeply profound, yet short, answer to this question: “Why did you choose homeschooling for your children?” So, all you homeschoolers out there, help me out! You have 5 minutes… go. =)

Saturday, October 09, 2010

For my mom…


From the photos that I had yet to upload off my little camera… A grandma moment. Love you, Mommy.

Friday, October 08, 2010



Deep in the wood I made a house

Where no one knew the way;

I carpeted the floor with moss,

And there I loved to play 


 I heard the bubbling of the brook;

At times an acorn fell,

And far away a robin sang

Deep in the lonely dell.


I set a rock with acorn cups;

So quietly I played

A rabbit hopped across the moss,

And did not seem afraid.

- Katherine Pyle

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

B is for…

Today’s 3-year-old boy preschool lesson….

B is for….

- Write Bb on the Magnadoodle. Talk about sound it makes. Have him trace over it…

- Fill paper sack with things that start with B, and he pulls them out.

- Do this craft: hot air Balloon…

- Worked with our number line…

- Cutting practice with scraps…

- Read “The Biggest Bear” by Lynd Ward. Had him find the big B’s for me.

- Played outside with Bubbles and the Bean Box

I’m typing up these lessons for you in case anyone else out there with a 2 or 3-year-old might get some inspiration from them. They’re exceedingly simple, but that’s our speed around here right now. Enjoy!

Oh, I’m going to start tagging them as alphabet preschool, so you can click on that tag to find others…

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Thank you, Mr. Carnegie…

public library

(not my local library- way cuter)

I took the boys to our local library this morning. It’s one of my favorite places in our little world.

Most mornings of the week, they have a rhyme time program. We go in, get a ticket from a smiling children’s librarian, and then join about 20 other moms and kids for a half hour of songs, rhymes, and stories. Seth and Evan LOVE it. They dance, they clap, and they remember the rhymes later on… and so does their mom. Blowing and mass chasing of bubbles, a stamp on the hand, and we’re off.

This morning, I was looking for books that could answer this frequently asked question: “What does ______ (insert your animal of choice here) eat?” So I asked one of the children’s librarians, and she promptly hopped up from her desk and led me to a large section of children’s books on animals. She didn’t come up with an encyclopedia style book about animal eating patterns, but I did find several books on Seth’s level about the habits of some of his favorites.

We came home, and we read while Evan napped. We read about the mysterious giant squid, and we looked at beautiful photos of toads, and Mommy learned a thing or two about a cow’s stomach…

It made me thankful all over again for the institution of the public library. My local one is about 5 minutes away, and it has a great system for requesting and renewing books. Everything is online, and I get regular emails to let me know that I need to renew. I renew online, and if something won’t renew, its a short trip to take it back.

I also recently discovered their online interlibrary loan program. Oh, my… I am excited! You want a book they don’t have? No problem… just type in the author and title, give them your card no., and hit enter. In two weeks, you can have an obscure book from some other library in the U.S. I am going to be shamelessly taking advantage of this for many years to come.

I did a little looking on Wikipedia, and as far as I can figure, I can thank Mr. Andrew Carnegie for the bounty I enjoy today. He gave the public library in the U.S. its start at looking like it does today. Hmmm, wealthy businessman using the fruits of his labors to pioneer something new and beneficial to mankind… wait, wasn’t the government supposed to be the only entity that can do that? =) So, thank you, Mr. Carnegie. You’ve helped to make my life richer…

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Makin’ soup…

Baby’s up and pushing his little walker all over the place, squealing, stopping to plunge with wild abandon into a pile of books, emerging with one held up, triumphant… He’s all about car and truck books at this point, and if you don’t read the one he wants to hear, he’ll protest loudly until you do.

And I’m making this soup. Yummm. Cornbread to follow…

Planning to be a cheerful lady for the hubster when he gets home. Gotta love the sweet hilltops with the valleys, right? =)


I have so much in my life. God has blessed me more than abundantly. I have a wonderful, godly husband that I soooo do not deserve, two beautiful, fun, and healthy boys, a nice house, a car to drive, good food on the table, etc., etc. I can go on and on. Really, I’ve got very little to complain about…

But, like everyone else I know on Planet Earth, I worry. I want despite what I already have…

There are a couple of significant areas of my life right now that I have absolutely zero control over. That’s really tough for me. All I can do is pray. And then pray again. And then pray some more.

This fallen world is a tough place to live. Those who follow Christ aren’t exempt from the junk that everyone else has to deal with… we just get to know that there’s a blessed and good end to it at some point. We struggle and fall and struggle some more. There isn’t enough true rest on this earth to really refresh us for long.

I don’t know what God’s answer for me and my family will be in these areas. I don’t do well with waiting, and I feel like I’ve already waited for too long. Most days I handle it all well, but other days, I struggle. This is one of those.

Thanks for praying for me.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A is for Acorn…

One of the lovely (and not so lovely) things about homeschooling is the wide variety of educational philosophies and curriculum choices. There’s so much out there that it can be overwhelming….

But I need to remember that I do have an advantage here. My mom taught me through example that its not the particular curriculum you use or educational philosophy YOU like most that matters… A hodgepodge of stuff that works best for YOUR CHILD can still produce a child that loves to learn and becomes a lifelong learner. Strict adherence to a particular method can be frustrating for mom and children…. and it doesn’t really matter as long as they have access to good books, very limited access to tv and video games, and curriculum that teaches them in the way that they learn best.

I’m experimenting a bit with unit studies. A friend down the street loaned me Before Five in A Row. Basically, you take a good children’s book, you read it every day for 5 days, and each day you do a different activity related to the story. For instance, we read The Carrot Seed yesterday. We talked about how carrot seeds grow, and then we cut the top off a carrot, put it in a dish on the windowsill with water, and we’re going to attempt to grow a carrot top. He’ll need patience, just like the little boy in the book, and he’ll need to check in on his carrot every day, etc., etc.

But I’m not sure that unit studies alone are best for his particular 3-year-old boy mind right now. So I’ve come up with the fly by the seat of your pants, lots-of-little-learning-experiences-that-take-less-than-an-hour-while-the-baby-naps curriculum. Today’s curriculum…

A Is For Acorn

- Write the capital and lowercase letter A on the Magnadoodle. Tell him the two sounds they make. Give word examples- alligator, ant.

- Do the Letter Bag. Fill a bag with things that start with the letter A and have him draw them out.

- Make an acorn man with the glue stick. Write the word “Acorn” on the page with the Acorn Man. Have him practice writing a letter A there.

- Dance to a music and movement song together.

- Read Imogene’s Antlers. Stop and let him say “antler” every time it appears in the story.

- Do one worksheet of line drawing practice. Let him cut it with scissors after he’s done, not fussing too much about exactly how he’s holding them. =) Let him color on the back.

- Make Ants on a log for snack together. (peanut butter on celery with raisin Ants.)

Monday, September 27, 2010



Thankful for….

- Soft, soaking rain falling for the first time in weeks…

- Boys who sleep in and take long naps…

- Arrival of a new baby niece, complete with my brother’s loved features imprinted across her tiny face…

- A dear friend who soothes me with theological knowhow as I fight against theology I know in my heart to do injustice to God’s love, loans me lovely books, and cuddles my boys…

- The sensuous writing of Peter Mayle’s “A Year in Provence”…. you can almost taste the fresh fruits and cheeses…

- Little boy spinning in circles as his toy plane goes “Up! Up! Up!,” and I dance around the kitchen, prepping breakfast casserole for tomorrow and dinner for today…

- An empty sink and clean laundry…

- A full to-do list…mostly checked off…

- A mercifully lovely start to the week after a rather rotten weekend of sickness…

- Time to make this list…

Friday, September 24, 2010

The God within…

Suffering with a stomach bug today. Woke up in the middle of the night, threw up, and my first thought was, “David has to be in court tomorrow, and he’ll get a contempt citation if he stays with me. I am in trouble.” I pick the best days to get sick. Woke him up in the middle of the night with my sickness, and as we lay there, him knowing he had to get up at 5:00 a.m. to drive to court, and me wondering what today would bring, and what I would do since I get no sick days… I said, “Life is hard sometimes, isn’t it…” And in the dark I heard a quiet, “Yes.”

Thank the Lord for my mother who drove up this morning to love on my boys so I could sit still and beg my queasy stomach to calm down. Having her here was such a blessing… I can’t even tell ya.

But since I can sit still and upright at this point, here I am. Found this quote on the net a minute ago and thought I’d share it. It was quoted in the context of the whole “Eat, Pray, Love” phenomenon, but it certainly applies all the time and in all situations, seeing as how its true and all.

From G.K. Chesteron’s Orthodoxy (p. 81):

“Of all horrible religions the most horrible is the worship of the god within. . . . That Jones shall worship the god within him turns out ultimately to mean that Jones shall worship Jones. Let Jones worship the sun or moon, anything rather than the Inner Light; let Jones worship cats or crocodiles, if he can find any in his street, but not the god within.

Christianity came into the world firstly in order to assert with violence that a man had not only to look inwards, but to look outwards, to behold with astonishment and enthusiasm a divine company and a divine captain. The only fun of being a Christian was that a man was not left alone with the Inner Light, but definitely recognized an outer light, fair as the sun, clear as the moon, terrible as an army with banners.”

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

a question of mistaken identity…

So… my sister-in-law, Terri, and I often share book recommendations. We both snarf down books like its going out of style. Keeping up with our ravenous appetites can be tough.

I was excited when she told me about a book that she’d recently loved. She said that the title was “Green Dolphin Street.” Now, seeing as our local library often does not have books that I hear about and would like to read, I was super excited when a search promptly pulled up the title. Bingo.

I went to the library, and I got it. I started reading. It. was. awful. The central theme of the book was a justification of adultery, plain and simple. Lots of intellectual justifying of the goodness of this affair, etc., etc. I kept reading, growing more and more puzzled. It was awful… but Terri had recommended it, so there must a plot twist, something, anything. Nope. Awful from start to finish.

My opinion of Terri’s good book judgment suffered. We don’t always like the same books, but she hasn’t ever recommended a book before that was mainly a justification of sin.

Sooo…being the obnoxious person that I am, I casually mentioned on Facebook chat that I’d despised her recommendation. Told her I couldn’t get past the adultery plot, since it was central to the book.

She appeared puzzled. She had not remembered adultery being the main theme of “Green Dolphin Street.”

Something clicked. I asked her to give me the author’s name, please. Elizabeth Goudge is the author of “Green Dolphin Street.” The book I had read was written by a man.

I read “On Green Dolphin Street” by Sebastian Faulks. Not the same book at all. My husband did a lot of laughing about this one. Terri, my opinion of your taste in books has been redeemed. =)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Keep it simple…

I found this article today, and it spoke to me. =) The more I look at Charlotte Mason’s philosophy, the less worried I get. Simple is better when they’re young…

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Looking for the clubhouse…

These thoughts popped in my head as I got a long overdue shower this afternoon. Ahem. So I thought I’d post them, for what they’re worth. Granted, I’m aware that that might not be much.

I was thinking about how some homeschooling bloggers avoid being very “Rah Rah!” about homeschooling. There’s a lot of “this works for me, but I’m certainly not suggesting that your choice is in any way inferior to mine” going around the mommy blogger sphere. I understand why this is… nobody wants to add extra to the loads of mommy guilt that we all feel over our decisions.

But… I’d like to find the “Rah Rah!” homeschooling clubhouse, please. I’m hoping for a quiet corner of the internet where those of us in agreement can climb in and pull up the rope ladder. There would be nice, hand lettered signs on the outside that say, “If you don’t think homeschooling is the most awesome thing EVER, please don’t come in. We don’t want to offend you. The Private School Clubhouse, and the Public School Clubhouses are just around the corner. Peace out.,” etc.

I think that a lot of us would like a little more “Rah Rah!” about our particular choices on some days. It helps keep us going when times are tough because of those choices. Unless you’re being smacked in the face that this choice isn’t right for you, you want to hear why it’s great.

For instance, the mom who’s spending $20,000 a year on her children’s private school education might not want to hear on a particular day that somebody else’s children are thriving in their local public school. If so, then she wonders if she’s totally wasting her money. Why not get that bathroom remodel and great big soaking tub she’s always wanted instead? If it doesn’t really matter that they go to private school, she wonders periodically if she might as well tear her money into bitty pieces and eat it. She needs to go to the Private School Clubhouse and kick back for a bit…

And if my children will thrive in the local school, then why am I planning to bust my hump every day to teach them? Might as well throw their backpacks on them, tell them to go wait for the bus, and put my feet up, right? If I feel like this, maybe its time to visit the Home School Clubhouse for some Little Debbies and a chat about the wonders of unit studies. =)

There are days when the clubhouse might come in handy for all of us, I think. It’s encouraging to see others get really excited about a choice that you’re embracing as well. What would be your clubhouse of choice? =)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Mother’s Jewels…


Aunt Eleanor wears such diamonds!

Shiny and gay and grand,

Some on her neck and some in her hair,

And some on her pretty hand.

One day I asked my mama

Why she never wore them, too;

She laughed and said, as she kissed my eyes,

My jewels are here, bright blue.

They laugh and dance and beam and smile,

So lovely all the day,

And never like Aunt Eleanor’s go

In a velvet box to stay.

Hers are prisoned in bands of gold,

But mine are free as air,

Set in a bonny, dimpled face,

And shadowed with shining hair!”

- Eugene Field

before and after…


Before we have a cluttered playroom overfilled with toys… so many toys that all the parts of different toys were buried, all the puzzle pieces were everywhere, etc.


And after several hours of labor by the parental units….

No more train table, just train track in a box with plenty of floor space for building. No more basket of doom where toys are buried, never to be seen again….  I’ve got basic craft supplies in bins, and I’m breathing a whole lot easier about putting together a little bit of school this fall for the big one…

Ahhh, feels so nice to get rid of excess stuff….


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Life… and Breakfast cookies…

It’s been a busy week already, and we’re only at Wednesday. =) Lots of firsts, with a new Sunday School class of 3-year-olds for me and David on Sunday and the first day of MOPs yesterday.

We moved up with the two’s that we taught last year in Sunday School, so most of the kids were ones we’ve already come to know and love. This year, we’re going to take on some new things that they’re more ready for. We’re going to ask for prayer requests and pray together every week. And I’m hoping they’ll sing more with us this year. I love to sing kiddie songs! =)

The first day of MOPs went really well. This will be my 3rd year being a small group leader. I hope I have it together more than I did last year, since I don’t have a newborn anymore. We had a LOT of new moms come for the first meeting. I sat with two of them, both pretty new to town. One mom had only moved to our city a week ago! Well, she came to the right place. We have so many transplants at MOPs, and there were definitely some of us at the table that could encourage and sympathize with moving woes. It was nice to feel like God was using me to be a blessing, even in something small like that…

We babysat this morning for a friend’s little girl who is Evan’s age. She fits in well with the boys, and Seth did a good job of being a big helper with the “babies.” I couldn’t believe it, but she cried and didn’t want to let go of me when her mom came. Hilarious! Well, Anna, I guess you’ve ensured that I’ll be sitting for you again!

And I got to try a new recipe this morning. Here’s the link for Breakfast Cookies. They are surprisingly filling and healthy. I think I made them a little too moist at first, so if that happens to you, just add a little flour. My boys loved them with scrambled eggs. I think I’m going to freeze the rest in batches so that we can add them to the breakfast rotation around here.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Aunt Mary’s Honey Oat Wheat Bread…

I have a problem. I have finally produced a loaf of wheat bread that is so good that my husband wants me to stop buying sandwich bread from the store. It’s moist, it’s fluffy, it’s delicious… This is my second week making it, helped greatly by the fact that I packaged up a bag of the dry stuff for use this week.

Use at your own risk. You may have a store bought bread mutiny on your hands…

Aunt Mary’s Honey Wheat Oat Bread

1 1/4 c. buttermilk (not sour. It matters.)

1/3 c. honey

1 egg

4 T. butter or oil

1 c. bread flour

2 1/2 c. white wheat or whole wheat flour

1 c. oats

1 t. salt

1 T. yeast

2 t. wheat gluten (I’m not sure if you can skip this or not. Find at health food stores)

Load your breadmaker. Hit the dough cycle. After that’s done, take dough out and make a slightly flattened rectangle with it. Fold in both sides, fold under the short ends, and you have a loaf. Put it in a large, greased loaf pan in a lighted oven. Let rise until its about an inch above the rim of the pan. Bake at 350 for 38 minutes.

Oh, and if you home bakers out there have any cost breakdown estimates, let me know. I got a quart jar of raw honey for $5. Everything else I bought at Walmart. Gluten was free from Mom. I probably can’t beat $2.49 a loaf for Nature’s Own, but the taste is worth it….

Friday, September 10, 2010


I’m tired. And sometimes I’m amazed by how easy it is for me to get this way. My life isn’t that super crammed with things on the calendar. My to do list often has just the essentials on it. How do the working mothers do it? Well, maybe their houses don’t get as trashed every day, I tell myself, but then, I don’t really know.

But I’m still whupped by the time the boys go down for nap, my poor, tired bones just aching to rest. It’s Friday, and I’m done in.

The floor is sticky, there’s dust in the corners, the deck is mess of cobwebs, leaves, and random toys. I don’t care. And I’m thrilled about that. I kick the toys away from the center of the playroom, ignore the stains on the rug, and call it “picked up.”

Soup is in the crockpot, and I care not a bit that the single gal who’s coming for dinner will be using a dish towel to wipe her hands in the downstairs bathroom. This is hospitality “young mom” style. You can come in; just don’t look too closely at my house. But go ahead and admire the handprint art on my windows. Ain’t it cute? That lavendar candle will cover over the faint, lingering scent of teething poop, won’t it? I thought so…

Happy Friday. I’m going to lie down.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

on the climbing of stairs…


Laundry whirring, bread kneading in the Zoji, clean dishes draining quietly…

I can sit for a minute, and that’s good. Got so many little tidbits of things in my head… little fall plans and random errands and desires for this week and next. I like seeing the month’s calendar filling in here and there with places and loved people.

Good weekend with the parents at Breezy Point (though I am currently kinda pooped). Seth had his first time fishing in the boat with Papa. He stayed there, happy as a clam, reeling in his line over and over again… for an hour and a half. And he’s only 3. I think that Papa may be training his fishing buddy for the patience required to actually fish with any sort of seriousness.

I appreciate the multiple ways in which my parents are generous with us. Dad patiently lets Seth “help” him with all sorts of tasks he could do faster on his own, like fishing or mowing. Mom sends her fresh garden produce on so that we’ll have something besides fast food to eat on the way home. They never begrudge us an evening to go out, no matter how few evenings we’ll have with them. Meals are planned and executed with little fuss but plenty of work, and I have to kick Mom away from the kitchen sink to enjoy a sunset with her grandbaby before its all gone. Thank you, Mom and Dad.

Community Bible Study starts this Thursday. Seth and Evan will both have new teachers, and I’m so excited to hear Seth randomly tell me the Bible verses he’s memorizing with his class. He learned more from being in CBS this past year than he did from Sunday School or MOPs. I’m totally impressed with their children’s program so far.

And a few crafts that are on my fall to do list…. I want to make these cookies for both boys’ Sunday School teachers and CBS teachers. We’ll see if that happens or not. I bought the food coloring anyway… And I want to make this wreath for my door. I’m thinking of spray painting it silver and hot glueing some fake cranberries on there and calling it a Christmas wreath. I haven’t seen any wreaths I really liked in the stores for less than $50, and I’m not paying that, so we’ll try this. Maybe. =)

There are many stairs that I have yet to climb on my way to a productive and organized fall season. Whatever. I’ll just do my best and let the rest go. So many desires… so little time. =)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Seasons change…

It’s been a beautiful day in my neighborhood. August here is awfully hot, but something subtle has shifted in the last few days. It’s still hot, but there’s a breeze, and the dreadful humidity has lifted. Evenings are getting a bit cooler, and its pleasant again to walk on our local trails then.

This morning was full of simple goodness for us. We all slept in, and while Evan napped, Seth and I played outside with his bean box. I read “A Charlotte Mason Companion” while he scooped and shoveled and told me all about his building activities.

I got lots of hugs and snuggles and rejoiced in watching Evan try new, non baby food options for lunch. He’s not a picky eater at this point, and its great to see him taste sharp cheddar without wincing. =) Seth helped me with the grocery shopping, and he even got a cookie from the deli for himself and his brother. (He’s sharing cookies. My work here is done.)

I’ve been thinking about how God has changed me as I’ve gone through different seasons of being a mom. When Seth was born, we lived in a high rise in D.C., and we were constantly on the go. We even had a baby tent I got pitch anywhere, and he would nap wherever he happened to be.

Things didn’t change much with that when we moved here. I still liked to be on the go. We’d run around town, checking out all the new parks and play areas and shopping centers. When he moved to one nap a day, I felt like I’d really gained some freedom. We were busy, and though home was our base, we were out a lot. We loved exploring, just me and Seth.

But things have shifted subtly for me. Those days of loving to be out a lot most days are over, I think. Evan still takes a morning nap, and I don’t want him to miss it too much, so we’re sticking around here in part for him. But… its not just for him, either.

I increasingly like being here with just my boys. I like having short, spur of the moment adventures, like running to the park for 1/2 an hour or an hour, and then spending the rest of the day building blocks or baking brownies or playing in the pool. I’m not the big “playdater” I used to be. Don’t get me wrong; I like playdates and people and being out. They’re just not quite as necessary as they used to seem.

I have a friend who seems happiest when she’s with other people and out of her house. I used to identify with that. I don’t anymore. I don’t know when that changed exactly. I just know that it did. I have found more contentment within my own walls. And I love that my children just get more interesting every day.

Could be that I have one that talks and makes up stories now. Hmmm… maybe that explains everything. =)

Anyway, I noticed a couple of days ago that I’m not really looking forward that much to a busier fall schedule. This is the first summer since I’ve had children that I could say that. From fall through spring, I have a couple of hours two mornings a week when I’m in either MOPs or CBS that I’m not with my boys. I used to really appreciate the break. Now the thought makes me a little sad.

It’s been a good summer. We’ve created a good routine for us. I kinda hate to say goodbye to that. Oh well, the beautiful thing about this life I have is that we can change these things up if they aren’t working…

Friday, August 27, 2010

Getaway weekend…


Can you tell we were really missing our kids? =) 


The view from the front porch of my parent’s cabin. This was taken on a lovely afternoon… sunny, light breeze to blow away all the bugs, sun sparkling on the water. We got to just sit and talk and read… together. And nobody woke up and started crying because they had a poopy diaper or wanted some “Juice! JUICE!” Awesome…. that lack of diapers and juice.


As we were leaving, David ushered me out of the front door, and he pointed to our ride. That’s not our car. David swapped cars with the college student we’ve adopted through our church. Poor Josh got the respectable yuppie-mobile, and we got his sporty ride. It had a sun roof and bucket seats and smelled like college student. The smell was a good thing. I can’t put my finger on what the combination was, but it reminded me of ye old college days… the good ones, not the ones when I had an exam or something.

So we drove through town with the top open and the engine powerfully thrumming. It was great. And Josh only got one ticket for improperly parking on a residential street near the beach. Don’t worry; we told him about it. =)

I’m going to put down this down for posterity. On our last evening there, we decided to take a nighttime walk on the beach. It was so romantic, the cool sand between our toes, the moon shining on the water… until the moon went behind the clouds, and it started to rain.

We’d already turned around to head back to the pier, but we weren’t nearly close enough. The bottom fell out of the sky. I’ve never been that sopping wet in my life. I told David that if he’d just entered me in a wet t-shirt contest, at least I could’ve kept something dry. I was wiping the water back over my head with my hands just so I could see.

We made it back to the car, wrung ourselves out, and headed home. That was when Josh’s AC decided to have a minor malfunction. This meant that the defrost wasn’t working.

So here we are, soaked to the skin, can’t open the windows ‘cause it’s still pouring, trying to drive home. David can’t see, and there’s nowhere to pull over. Finally I find a place, and we do, and David gets the idea to take off his sopping wet shirt and have me wipe the interior of the windshield, hoping we can make it home that way. Well, we make it another 100 feet or so, and pull over again. Surprise… the wet shirt isn’t much help. That’s when David realizes we can use the heat to defrost the car. Unusual choice for the beach in August, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

We made it back, and we didn’t wreck Josh’s car. And then we laughed about it. =)

We’ll have to do this again more often than once every two years, honey. I can’t wait to see what happens next time we get away together. =)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Kumar and Alfred…

This title isn’t the same of a buddy sidekick movie, though it might sound like it at first. =) These are the names of our sponsored children through Compassion International. Both are 4 years old. Kumar lives in India, and Alfred lives in Uganda.

We started sponsoring these children this year, and it’s already been an interesting experience. We’ve gotten letters already from each of the children, and Alfred dictated his. He’s got quite the little personality, and he was even able to write his own name!

Christ calls us to look out for the poor, but this has been my first direct experience of doing so. It is a good thing to see their little faces staring at me on my fridge door. 

I know there may be some of you out there who’ve had good intentions to do this in the past, but you just haven’t taken that step. Well, now’s as good a day as any. =)

When you go on the website to select a child, it can be totally overwhelming. There are soooo many. How can you pick just one or two? The need can burden you into paralysis. Well, if it does, and if you’re not feeling a specific leading from the Holy Spirit toward a certain little face, you can try to narrow it down a bit.

Here’s how we did that: We picked two boys whose birthdays were very close or identical to our boys. We tried to get the ages close as well, but that wasn’t terribly important. We figure that this way, we’ll have more to talk about with the boys in our letters, and we’ll be able to remember their birthdays more easily. It’ll be easier for our boys to relate to them when we get letters, and they can pray for them about some of the things that they all have in common.

Compassion is a very reputable agency that has been around for many years. They get directly involved in the lives of the children they sponsor by sending them to local church schools and checking in on their families to find out their needs. And they make it easy to sponsor. You can do direct deposit of your sponsorship money each month…

And here’s my favorite feature: You can email your sponsored child! The email is printed off and translated for them. If you’re horrible at writing regular letters and actually getting them in the mail, this doesn’t have to hold you back any longer.

Now, if any of you actually go out and sponsor a child because of my 5 minute plug here, please let me know in the comments. It’ll make my year. =)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010



Today you got up from your toast and eggs, put your plate in the sink, and headed in the playroom. A minute later, you called me. When I came in, you were sitting on the floor, and you said, “Mama, I just want some attention.” And that’s what you got. I smothered my laughter. You are the coolest.

And then there was that time the other day when you opened the pantry door, and you just stood there, looking. I said, “What are you doing, Seth?” And you said, “I just want everything that I want.” You don’t want much, my handsome man….

We have this thing that we do in the mornings, you and I. I come downstairs with Evan, and then we look up and wait for you to come down. I call out, “It’s King Seth, and his Royal Giraffe!” and then I start da dumming what I think is probably the theme to Masterpiece Theatre. You smile, and then you start dancing right there on the steps. You bend your knees down and up, you grin, and you flail your arms slowly. It’s a total trip.

Today, on your way down the concrete steps at the pediatrician’s office, you said, “Mama, can you sing the song you sing at home when I come down the steps?” So I did… in front of God and everybody. And I didn’t even care how crazy I must’ve looked.

You’ve started telling great stories to me in the car. You’ll just get on a roll, and you’ll tell me all about it. All the way home from Trader Joe’s today you spun me a tale, made up of many parts of your favorite books and some parts of your everyday life. The story was full of things like, “And then the giraffe jumped in the water and swam and swam and swam. And then I said, “Come out, giraffe!” And then he did, and then a shark came and BIT him! And then I cried and cried. And then I said, “Stop, shark, or I’ll SHOOT you.” Your stories are wonderful. I could listen to them all day.

I love how you like to talk to everyone you meet. You always have something you want them to know about you. “Did you know that I have big muscles?” “Did you know that I have a big boy car seat?” “Did you know that I sleep with my giraffe?” These are perfect things to share. I wish we all did a little more of that innocent, excited sharing.

And I love 3 1/2. I wish it would never end…

Back porch dreaming…


Helloooo, all. So… remember my love of screened in porches? =) The picture above is from the darling rental that I cried my eyes out over leaving. And one of the main things I cried about was leaving that porch. Oh, the warm evenings on that swing, drinking a cold D.P., bare feet dangling, listening to crickets. Oh, the mornings when I opened the kitchen door and listened to the birds as I got baby Seth’s cereal ready…

So, we left that house, and I left the porch behind, and I sighed and resigned myself to the fact that screened in porches cost, like, a bazillion dollars, and hello, there are lots of totally not sexy house up keep stuff we should do at some point, and then don’t forget about nasty emergencies like the broken water line and the new sidewalk ‘cause they bashed in the old one getting to the broken water line… etc.

But the 22-year-old deck on the back of the house is rotting. So I called someone to come and see if it could be saved. Nope. It’s too rotten. We have to do something about it so termites don’t start eating our house. He quoted me a price for a new deck exactly like the old deck. It was surprisingly not as bad as I thought it would be. I didn’t even wince.

I tell David about it when he comes home, and he nods thoughtfully, asks thoughtful questions, and then asks if it would be possible to screen in a section of the porch. What? We weren’t going to do that, right? “Well, just ask him to give you a quote.” I did. It wasn’t that bad. I didn’t wince again. Interesting…

And then I start beating myself up over this. How many more Compassion children could we sponsor for that amount of cash? And I’m the main person who wants this porch, right? Isn’t it decadent to do something like this mainly for me? Yeah, I know there are mosquitos, and this would help, and we could all use it.. but it’s not technically necessary.

There are so many times when I wish God would make things a little more clear for me on the discretionary decisions of life. There isn’t anything sinful about having a screened in porch. I know that. But what does He want us to do with the money He’s entrusted to us? We know we’re supposed to take care of our family and tithe to Him, and we know we’re supposed to take care of the house He’s given us and not let it fall apart. It’s the extras that I wonder about…

Don’t know if any of you have had some similar decisions to make that you’d like to share. As for us, we’re going to pray about it some more and do some more research for now…

Thursday, August 12, 2010


It’s about 11:30, and I’m not terribly sleepy for whatever reason. No nap for me today, so that can’t be it. Oh well, I’ll go to bed in a minute.

Evan has been sick this week and last. He has some sort of stomach bug. The munchkin is happy as a lark for the most part, but he’s thrown up once a day just about every day for a week now. Since I had a stomach bug that lasted that long recently, I have assumed that that’s what it is. If he’s not better by Monday, I’ll take him in to the doctor. I sort of wish he had some other mildly alarming symptoms instead of the cheerful hurling. Then I would be more sure whether or not to take him to the doctor.

I’m not a parent who likes to go to the doctor unless we have to. So much of the time, they just have a run of the mill virus, and the doctor can’t do anything. I also fear catching something in the waiting room. I think we’ve done that at least once. =)

Other than that, summer days slip by like warm pool water through our fingers… Man, its hot. At least we have a pool we can go to around here. I think we’ll head there again tomorrow.

I’m also noticing how a few more of things that I used to struggle with are getting gradually easier. Evan is 14 months, and while not walking, he gets around pretty quickly. He and Seth play together a lot more, and its really darling to watch. And the talking… oh, the talking. He’s got about 50 words, and he uses them. It’s adorable…

Seth is able to “help” me with the grocery shopping now, so I’m not stuck doing it at night all the time anymore. He takes his little mini shopping cart, and he follows me around the local Food Lion. I let him choose things to put in the cart, and when we reach the checkout, he puts his items on the belt and then puts the cart back. He also loves to stop and tell random shoppers that “I’m shopping!” or “Did you know that I have a big boy car seat?” or “I sleep with my giraffe!” A sweet older lady told him today that he made her day. You should’ve seen his grin.

Getting a meal on the table isn’t nearly the grouch inducing endeavor that it’s been for about a year now. I’m excited about making muffins and desserts again, and the thought of actually chopping something up isn’t odious to me. =) Yay for increased energy and excitement about daily chores!

David and I are going away next weekend for a long weekend. My parents are taking the boys. We realized today that we haven’t gone away together since Seth was a year and a half. He wasn’t even walking the last time we went on a trip together! Wow! I realized that we are super excited to get to do things like go to a movie alone or be at the beach during nap time. I was wondering why that was, and then I realized that we didn’t relish a break nearly as much back then because daily life with one wasn’t nearly as chaotic as daily life with two active, spunky, tiny boys.

Ok, losing steam. My soft sheets are calling me. G’night.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

warring parent gangs or the cribs vs. the beds….

Hat tip to Sallie at a Quiet Simple Life for this one…

I am a member of the Cribs, with a smattering of Bed thrown in from time to time just to keep it interesting.

Monday, August 02, 2010

the small pleasures of a mall play place…

It’s 5 minutes from our house. We go there around 9:00 a.m., before the mall is really open. Seth struts around, pleased to the oldest for once, calling out to me, “ I did it, Mommy!" as he scales a giant plastic log. Evan crawls through another, squealing with delight. He’s found a friend, a motherly little girl who calls after him, “Come back, baby boy!” There is a wonderland of plastic cars, trucks, and motorcycles, all freely and joyfully ridden, if you don’t know that they move when coins are inserted. A penny will buy you a wish in the fountain. There is a lawnmower to be sat upon by eager little boys.

Who needs Disneyworld? =)

Sunday, August 01, 2010

random musings…

It’s Sunday afternoon, and I’m still a little dazed from my afternoon nap. Love the afternoon nap on Sundays. Can’t live without it. Going to bake cookies in a few minutes because…

We’ve got a busy week coming up. We mentor a newly married couple through a program at church, and they’re coming over, so I wanted to have something on hand. And then I have a MOPs leader training this Friday, and I’m bringing a dessert. One batch of cookie dough, nicely frozen, should hopefully handle both of these…. at least I don’t have to go back to the grocery store! =)

We went to a fellowship for Sunday School teachers at our church last night. It was a great chance to get to know some of the other workers. We teach a 2’s class on Sunday mornings with another couple, and we’ve been considering whether or not we’ll teach again next year. At a church the size of ours, the best way to get connected is to join an adult Sunday School class, and we’d been starting to feel a bit disconnected from the larger church body because of being out of one. Well, we’re not the only ones. That was the point of the social… to make the step of trying to build community among the teachers so we won’t feel so isolated.

It’s important to have a group of fellow believers who know when you’re sick or bring you a meal when you have a new baby or you can email when you need to borrow a space heater because your heat went out. The Sunday School teachers shouldn’t have to miss out on that just because they’re teaching the church’s children week in and week out. Hmmm, now to find a good and constructive way to accomplish this…

I did think as we were going over there that this was a group of people who have hugged and cuddled and changed and sang a million choruses of the B-I-B-L-E to my children faithfully and selflessly for years now. I almost got misty eyed over the thought. They have laid their lives down in practical and tough ways regularly for the good of the Body of Christ. That’s more than can be said for many members of Sunday School classes, me included. It’s an honor to get to know them better, and it’s a warm feeling to know how much they love my children.

One of the 1’s teachers snagged Evan right away and fed him bits of hot dog. I got to eat my dinner with both hands. That contributes to the warm fuzzies, I’m sure. =)

Well, those cookies aren’t going to bake themselves. And who knows how much time I left left before a couple of little somebodies wakes up from their naps…

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Come to the window….


Come to the window,

My baby, with me,

And look at the stars

That shine on the sea!

There are two little stars

That play at bo-peep

With two little fish

Far down in the deep,

And two little frogs

Cry, “Neep, neep, neep;

I see a dear baby

That should be asleep.”

yard sale saturday mornings….


During yard sale season, we drive our neighborhood on Saturday mornings after breakfast. Some Saturdays we find nothing… and some Saturdays we hit the jackpot. Today was a jackpot day…

So Seth and Daddy curled up together on the floor and did his new 35 piece puzzle while the soft rain came down outside…

And I went through this treasure trove in the playroom… fondly remembering so many of these stories from my childhood, smiling as I turned pages. And these are only a selection of the pile… Who knew $.25 a piece could buy so much beauty?