Friday, August 31, 2012

nature play…


“Every child is born a naturalist. His eyes are, by nature, open to the glories of the stars, the beauty of flowers, and the mystery of life.” – R. Search






Thursday, August 30, 2012

let it ride…

We went to our first homeschool support group meeting last Saturday. I was nervous. David figured out how nervous when I made them all change into collared shirts. =)

I looked around the big room full of families of all shapes and sizes, and I’ve got to admit, I felt a bit of dismay. There seemed like too many options and too much variety among my fellow homeschoolers for me to easily be able to feel a sense of connection.

Yeah, that whole “holding hands as we run through the meadow with deep, meaningful, and wholesome books in our unique yet matching backpacks to read by the clear stream while joyfully wading into nature study” vision I had may take awhile to come to fruition.

I know you’re shocked.

“Slow and steady, girl,” I tell myself. I repeat to myself not to expect too much, not to take on too much, not to sign up for more than one field trip in September… I want to do it all and become it all right away when I plunge into something new, and that usually isn’t good. Since my natural tendency is to overdo it, I’m fighting for simplicity and low expectations.

I need to listen to David when he says that the geocaching activity and the Old Salem field trip are too old for our boys this year. I need to maintain many of our activities and friendships and slowly and gradually change or expand them. I need to be gentle with myself, and get excited about the continuity of our lifestyle with Community Bible Study starting up and the change with adding that homeschool gymnastics class.

Ben has taken all 137 magnets off of our fridge now, so my time is up… Catch ya later.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

late summer day…


Love Ben’s expression here… “Yep, just chillin’ with my homie in the clothes basket, yo.”

Today is the start of kindergarten for many of my friends on Facebook. I’m seeing lots of pics of grinning kids wearing backpacks.

Us? Nope. Not starting until next week. David’s parents are taking the big boys for several days, and this week worked best for them, so there ya have it. It’s nice that we’ve got the option to be flexible.

Seth has been sleeping longer, having a harder time getting up, and napping more the last few days. The last couple of days, he’s been complaining that his legs hurt. I’m keeping an eye on it, but I really think that this is a growth spurt coming on. The same thing happened to me, and I remember how painful it could be… Poor guy.

Ben and I enjoyed a little quiet time before I dragged the sleepyheads out of bed. After he went down for nap, we had a marathon reading session. I have some new favorite children’s books. The boys love “Saint George and the Dragon” by Margaret Hodges. Beautiful illustrations, Caldecott winner, and Seth is really inspired to ask me to define the big words for him. We also love “The Adventures of Awesome Man” by Michael Chabon.

Then I started teaching Seth to tell time. He’s been begging me to learn for awhile. I borrowed a workbook and a learning clock from a friend, but it looked more involved to me than what he was asking for. So I used this Kindle download that I’d gotten a while back (when it was free). We’re not through with it yet, but he’s catching on really well. I think it’d be worth $4. There’s plenty of quizzing, and that’s fun in an electronic format.

A little playdough sculpting (Seth made a cool frog!), and then time for lunch. Ben is learning to love sliced banana, but he throws PB&J on the floor. We’ll try that again next week.

After lunch, we went to a local nature park and playground. We hiked the “secret” trail through the woods to the playground, and Seth got to swing a giggling Ben over and over again. I’m using my Beco carrier as a backpack now, and I love that, and so does the little man. They were getting tired toward the end, but I was able to use my secret weapon. “Hey, guys, lets see how fast you can get to me! 1, 2, 3, ……” =)

I love that everything is an adventure to them right now. I love that I get to be around whenever Seth has a random question (“Mommy, are mommy ducks blue?”), and I love that I get to answer it or help him find the answer. I do not love every single moment with them. For instance, the moment yesterday when they were all crying because they’d all had shots was not my favorite moment. BUT, I am grateful for this life I’ve been given. It’s pretty sweet right now…

Friday, August 24, 2012

hamburger potato casserole…

David was out of town last night, and in honor of his return, I thought I’d make one of his favorite dishes. It’s simple, hearty, and filling, and everybody likes it.

If you keep browned ground beef in your freezer, it’s even easier to pull together… You just have to plan ahead a little because of the baking time…

Hamburger Potato Casserole

1 lb. ground beef, browned

1 onion, finely diced or processed (I use my little 1 1/2 c. food processor)

4 red skinned potatoes, thinly sliced

2 T. water



garlic powder

onion powder

shredded cheese

Make a layer of sliced potatoes on the bottom of an 8x8 casserole dish. Cover with a thin layer of diced onions. Generously sprinkle it all with the seasonings. Add half of your ground beef, and season again. Repeat the layering with the rest of your ingredients. Season again. Add 2 T. of water, and then cover tightly with foil. Bake at 375 degrees for an hour. During the last 10 minutes of baking, uncover and add cheese to your taste, and then recover. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

finding my place…


The best welcome home ever…. =)

The kids are down for nap, and I’m about to get started on a big freezer cooking prep. Before I do, I felt like I’d write a bit.

We spent a glorious week at the beach with my parents and my brother’s family. It was one of those vacations when you’re really wishing you had an extra few days, so that’s how worth it all the packing and hauling was this time.

Now that we’re back, I’m feeling discombobulated. Yep, that’s about the only word for it. Combined with the downer from getting back to real life after vacation, and the worry and frustration from having a 5-year-old with violent temper tantrums, I’m also feeling very “in between.”

MOPs will be starting up soon, and I won’t be there. That’s been “my place” for the last few years. I’ve gotten easy friendships and playdates and contacts from MOPs with other women who get where I am and what I’m going through, so I have camped there and put down tent stakes.

Well, it’s now time to move on. And I don’t really know exactly where I’m going and who I’ll find there.

As much as I love my church, I haven’t found a solid place to camp there. We don’t live near most other young families in the church. The Sunday School class that we joined when we first joined the church didn’t yield us any close friendships. I feel like we tried, but there wasn’t a perfect fit there. It wasn’t anybody’s fault, but you know…

I have scattered friendships here and there that are developing, and that’s good, but those are newish, and so I don’t have the settled feeling that I would like.

I joined a local homeschool group, and the kickoff social is next week. I’ve gotten a couple of calls from ladies in charge, and they seem very nice. But I feel afraid to pin too many hopes on this. I’m not doing the co-op with them because that’s not where I want to go right now with our homeschooling, so I may be setting myself up for a chance to feel left out when everybody else does the co-op but us. Who knows?

And then there’s our current Sunday School class. It’s splitting into two classes because it got too large. Great problem, right? Well, we are going with the teacher that we grow and learn most easily with on Sunday mornings. (Although, honestly, the other teacher is another fantastic option, too. We’re swimming in too many great choices.) The class is a very diverse one of different ages and stages, but we provide the “married with more than one young child” diversity.

At the planning meeting last night for the new class, it became apparent after 10 minutes at the dinner table with most of the women in the new class that the majority of them have known each other for the last several years in a variety of ways.

After hearing some ideas for reaching out into the community as a class, including going to a place to socialize in the evening so we can become regulars there and be an open group that non-Christians can feel comfortable with, I felt even more lost. “Happy hour” isn’t too happy when you have three small children. I love my brothers and sisters in Christ, and we’re all doing our best, but I don’t know how I fit in and what I can do to make this feel more natural.

Getting the picture of why I feel discouraged today? Anyway, just pray the funk lifts, and I can move onward and upward with confidence…

Wednesday, August 15, 2012



My fearless, sand-eating, body surfing baby…

Times are changing around here again…

I could look at my cart at Walmart last night and tell that. Whole milk organic baby yogurt, a half gallon of whole milk, and a squat, round sippy cup with handles on each side mean “Your baby is almost one.”

Nursing sessions are short these days. He’s getting a lot more nourishment from the formula bottle and the baby food bowl, and I’m ready to be done with wondering if he’s getting enough to drink from me or if I need to make a bottle, too, before I feed him some grub with a spoon.

His first birthday is on Friday. I’ve been avoiding thinking about this for awhile, but I couldn’t help enjoying hunting for a few cute paper plates and adding his little face to the “O” of the “one” in the header of an Evite for cake eating at our house…

He pulled up on the loveseat Monday. He may be my earliest walker…

Oh, my tiny Ben, please stay a baby just a little bit longer….. =)