Monday, May 31, 2010

Unexpected Chivalry

I made a quick run to the nearby Walmart today to pick up the ingredients we needed to make home-made ice cream.  It was a last minute decision that we would take the home-made ice-cream mix and  ice cream churner (hand-cranked, thank you) to a Memorial Day get-together.  Normally I avoid Walmart on holidays like the plague.

I was fortunate enough to only have the baby with me.  The other three boys were happily running through the sprinkler at Grandma & Grandpa's house, 2 doors down from our house.

I thought about grabbing a cart from one of the parking lot cart returns as I lugged Joseph in his car seat out of the van.  But, I figured I'd just carry the car seat in & grab a cart inside.

About that time, a man in a motorized wheelchair zoomed up alongside me and asked if I wanted a cart.  I hesitated, not sure how to respond.  And, don't you know he told me to hang tight, he was going to get me one.  Then he zoomed over to the cart return and manuevered his wheelchair forward and backward until he had pulled out a cart for me.

He winked and said, 'Bet you didn't think I could do that.'

I thanked him, made some small talk with him about his little dog that he carries along with him (Scooby), and then watched him zoom on into Walmart with the American flag he has attached to the back waving in the breeze.

My heart was warmed.  I often think that politeness and consideration for others gets lost in today's society.  And,  here was a man who didn't let his disability stop him from extending some chivalry.  I'd say that's pretty admirable.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


I discovered this photographer when perusing another blog.  I don't know anything about him other than that his name is Robb North and his photos appeal to me on a very deep level.
photo by Robb North

The pictures are grainy and reminiscent of a time gone by.

photo by Robb North

They are so simple and so beautiful.

photo by Robb North

He includes trees in many of his shots.  And, I love pictures of trees.

photo by Robb North

Now I just need to figure out how I could order prints to frame in my house.

photo by Robb North

Check him out on Flickr.  Let me know if you find this photos as appealing as I do.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Overwhelmed, Part 2...We Are Not Consumed

Today was a better day.

1.  I had my coffe on the front porch and read from my Bible.  I will admit that I rarely make personal time with God.  I pray throughout the day, but I almost never quiet myself and read from His word.  And, when I do I receive such peace and I wonder why I don't do it all the time.

2. I babysat my friend's 2 little girls today.  It might seem counter-intuitive, but sometimes having additional children actually makes the day go easier.  My boys fight less and entertain themselves better.

3.  It was HOT today.  We have no air conditioning (except window units that my husband hasn't put in yet).  So, I sat in the coolest room to nurse the baby.  Windows were open and the fan in one of the windows was pushing in a cool breeze.  It was so calming.  And, I especially love it when Joseph's little fist clutches my shirt as he nurses.

4.  I pretty much ignored housework & laundry and played with my children today.  They were happier and I was happier.  I'm not sure if I'll have clean underwear to wear tomorrow, but I suppose I'll worry about that then.

5.  I played the local Christian radio station softly in the background.  I don't often listen to music during the day.  Often it's just more noise.  But, today it was refreshing and relaxing.

I mentioned in my post yesterday that I got a huge number of responses from my friends when I posted my numerous frustrations on Facebook.  Many of the responses were friends telling me how much they could relate, how they struggle with the very same things.

Truth #1 - We are not alone!  Other women struggle too.  If we could get beyond the comparison trap and reach out to one another we'd be so much better off.  One friend sent me this word of wisdom... "Don't let CHAOS (Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome) keep you isolated! " 
Oh, how often I do this very thing!  Satan would love nothing more than for use to stay isolated from others so he can continue to feed us lies.

Truth #2 - This is a season. Sometimes it feels like life as it now is will last forever.  And, it won't.  The children will grow.  They will become more independent.  And, they will be able to help around the house more.  Right now I have 4 boys under the age of 7.  A bit of chaos is to be expected.  

Truth #3 - God LOVES us so much and freely gives us grace.  Lately I have really been relating to Martha.  In Luke 10, Jesus is at the home of Mary and Martha.  And, you know the deal - Martha was busy, busy trying to serve the Lord with her preparations & meal.  Mary was hanging out at Jesus' feet.  I used to relate to Mary.  I really did.  And, I thought that Martha was sour grapes, a party pooper.  Wow.  How it has changed for me.  

When Jesus says, "Martha, Martha.  You are worried and upset about many things.",  he could be speaking directly to me.  I used to think that Jesus said this in a bit of an exasperated way.  But, now, I read it differently.  I can hear the compassion in his voice.   He goes on to say "but only one thing is needed.".  One thing.  One.  

We women are multitaskers.  Our minds have ongoing lists of items to be completed.  It's hard to quiet all the many, many thoughts that assail us.  But, only One matters.  And, that One loves us so much!

When I was in the midst of my meltdown on Saturday I was crying out to God and listing frustration after frustration.  And, as I prayed thinking of all the things weighing me down, I just became more and more upset.  But, then, very clearly I heard God speak to my spirit, "Just let me love you."  At first, I couldn't stop my tirade to God.  I kept telling him why I was so upset.

Over and over I heard, "Just let me love you."

Truth #4 - All our worries will pass away.
In my women's devotional Bible there is this devotional story that tells of a mother taking a walk with her young son.  He is picking up sticks and stones as they walk home, holding on desperately to each treasure that he finds.  Even though his hands are full and he is dropping them, they have to stop and pick them back up.  And, he struggles to carry them all back home.  Both mom and son are exhausted by the time they get home.   Here is the end of the story...
Time With Daddy
by Janice Kempe
"He struggled up the front steps throught the front door.  But suddenly he let go of his precious treasures, and the fell to the front hall floor.  His determined scowl melted into a big grin.  He ran off as if the things he had struggled to bring home had lost their value.  Kevin had seen something far more important...Daddy!"

"I too get burdened down by my treasures.  My house, my belongings, my responsibilities, and all the things I've spent so much time and energy acquiring seem tot take me over sometimes.  I find myself attending to their care with an overwhelming singlemindedness.  Sometimes I need to see God and do more than just acknowledge his presence.  I need to drop everything else and run to him.  I need to forsake the housework, the shopping, and the thousand other things that occupy my time, and go to him for a time of togetherness."

Truth #5 - We are not consumed.  
Lamentations 3: 22-23 says..."Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness."

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Overwhelmed, Part 1

My husband took the three oldest boys with him tonight as he does some outside work and the baby is (finally) happy in his swing.
Do I
a) finally try to accomplish a few things around the house since I couldn't get a single thing done all day?
b) take a minute to collapse on the couch?
c) vent here on my blog?

Well, I suppose the answer is obvious. I'm going with 'c'. And, I'll tell you why.
At least when I write I can see a finished product.
When I write I can vent some of the frustration that has built up over the day.
When I write I relax a bit.

Today was not such a great day.

Actually, it's been a rough week or so.

There have been a lot of stressors and not a lot of breaks.

Momma's on the the verge of a meltdown.

And, I don't like myself when I get this way.
I thought I'd go ahead and share what I posted on Facebook this weekend. It pretty much sums it all up. This was my first post on Saturday:

Waking up to cranky kids. Bah. I'm cranky too! Can I please lay on the floor & cry and whine? On another note, I would love to go to yard sales today. I haven't gone to any all year, but I really think taking 4 boys would be counterproductive & stressful.

The next post went something like this:

I know I've posted about this a million times. But seriously, how do I keep after my house???!!!! With 4 boys & one husband it's a constant mess. I feel like a slave to my house. I feel like I shouldn't go anywhere because there's always stuff to do at my house. I'm supposed to enjoy these years with my children and not worry so much about my house. But, it's chaotic & filthy!! I can not bear it!

Facebook has a limit on how many words you can include in your post, so I added this in the comments:

I would just like to take a trash bag & throw everything in it. I know everything I'm SUPPOSED to be doing. I'm supposed to be teaching my boys to be responsible for their own things. But, I don't feel like I ever have that opportunity. I'm constantly 'putting out fires'. Spills, messes, dirty clothes , crying baby, crying 2 year old, fighting 5 & 6 year old. If I had a week maybe with no children in the house so I could make it the way it should be. Then, start fresh...maybe. But, who has a week??? I'm so tired of feeling like I'm the only one who struggles with this. It seems like everyone else has found some sort of system that works for them.

When I was single & childless, I didn't worry about this stuff. Of course, then I was responsible only for me. But, now that I'm a wife and a mother I feel like my self-worth is wrapped up in the appearance of my house, the happiness of my children. If the house is a mess & my children are grumps, I must be failing.

And, finally there was this post a bit later:

Oh, and the whole if 'momma ain't happy, no-one's happy' thing/ the mother controls the temperment of the home thing. Some days I really don't want that power & responsibility. I would love to just have the freedom to have a bad day & not feel guilty that I've caused bad days for everyone else in my home. Seriously!

It was that kind of day on Saturday. And, it was that kind of day today. Unfortunately there seems to be a recurring theme.

On the positive side, you would not believe the responses I got from my friends... words of encouragement & some really great insights. And, yes, I will share some of that with you, as well as some spiritual truths I'm learning in this difficult phase of motherhood. I will indeed. But not today. Because the baby is no longer happy in that swing. And, I really do need to tackle some of the chaos in the house.

Monday, May 24, 2010

This 2 year old

This is Charlie...

He is our two year old

You might remember him from The Egg Incident and The Toilet Paper Episode

I remember thinking with our oldest 2 boys that the 'twos' weren't really that terrible.  They were no piece of cake by any means, but with my oldest ones I actually struggled more when they hit three.  

Now I have Charlie.  He is what we like to call 'busy'.  I can not turn my back on this boy.  It takes about 10 seconds for him to find a way to create a major mess.  Today he dumped his hot chocolate all over the kitchen table and started driving his tractor through it.  We cleaned up that mess and  Igave him some crayons & paper.  I walked away for one minute.  One.  I returned to see that he dumped out all the crayons (we have a large tub of crayons) and managed to find the one marker I had somehow missed confiscating and used it to draw all over the table.

I always say that my children look like little street urchins.  They are dirty a lot.  But, Charlie really takes the cake in this area.  There is a semi-permanent layer of grime & stickiness that covers his face & hands.  I say 'semi-permanent' because I CAN wash it off...and I do.  But, within in a few minutes the dirt has returned.

You want to know something else about Charlie?  He has the longest lashes & the sweetest smile.  He still loves to be held and cuddled.  And, as crazy as he makes me sometimes, I can't resist kissing those chubby, grimy cheeks of his.  I love this two year old!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Best French Toast Ever!

Several weeks ago at our MOPS meeting, the lady in charge of the kitchen at the church prepared french toast for us mommies.  I was completely blown away at my first bite.  I had never tasted french toast like this before.  There was something different & amazing about it, but I couldn't put my finger on it.  It almost had a sweet and salty taste.  Might sound weird, but it was sooo good!

I asked Reba what she had done to make her french toast.  She listed some of the usual ingredients - eggs, milk, cinnamon, vanilla.  And, then she told me her secret ingredient.  And, I'll bet you could never guess this in a million years, because it sure surprised me.  She also uses adobo!  For those of you who don't know, this is a seasoning typically used in latino dishes.

Well, I immediately went out and bought some adobo seasoning and tried it when mixing french toast at home.  It is so yummy!   And, this is how I will make my french toast from now on.  Incidentally, Reba used to own a restaurant and she said she used adobo on a lot of her meats...nothing else, just the adobo.  And, she would consistently get comments and rave reviews about the flavor.

Now,  I need to let you in on another secret.  I also came across a recipe for home-made syrup at another blog.  I thought I remembered which blog but now I can't find it when I search that blog.  So, I'd love to give recognition where it is due.  If it was your blog where I found this, please let me know & I'll include a link.  Anyway, here is the recipe for home-made syrup.  Drizzle this yumminess over this french toast yumminess and you've got pure bliss!

Home-made Syrup
1 cube butter
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup white sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp baking soda

The recipe says to combine all ingredients except the vanilla & bring to a boil.  I found it worked better for me if I did it this way...Bring all ingredients except vanilla & baking soda to a boil.  Add baking soda & boil for one minute.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.  Serve.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

How I Feel Today

Today I feel like I'm in a circus. And, the act that I perform is juggling...except that I'm really bad at it.

I'm the juggler that's sweating profusely, looking very uncoordinated, very unpracticed, and barely keeping a few plates in the air.

Meanwhile, in the ring next to me is another juggler. And, she's cool, calm, smiling, and in a really cute leotard with not a single unsightly bulge or ripple showing. And, she's moved beyond juggling plates. She's juggling swords. Flaming ones. One-handed.

Am I the only one who looks at other woman and wonders how they can do all they do? I really, really try not to fall into that comparison trap. But, on days that I'm spinning my wheels, I've got dried spit-up all over my shirt, grumpy children, and a to-do list that is only getting longer, I start to feel a little inadequate.

I will admit it folks. I can't do it all! Is anyone out there willing to admit the same?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Here are some words that have made me chuckle...

Edison, my 5 year old, is not particularly physically affectionate.  He'll often squirm away from hugs & kisses.  So, he completely surprised me today when he spontaneously gave me a giant hug.  I told him how much I loved getting hugs from him & asked if I could give him a hug back.

"No," he said.  "My receiver is broken."

On Sunday, we had a birthday cook-out for my husband, John.  It was a blast!  We had a great time with friends catching up & relaxing.  My friend, Sarah, had her sons along.  Her oldest boy Zach, 19, asked if he could use the upstairs restroom.  I told him where it was but warned him that it might not be the cleanest.   (I focused on cleaning the downstairs for the party.  Plus, I'm never too sure what surprises might be found in our bathrooms since I have boys who don't have the best aim.)

"Oh, I don't mind."  Zach replied.  "In fact, I prefer it that way!"

Bless that boy for making me laugh & putting me at ease!

And then, there's this precious 2-sided note that Wyatt made for me while he was at school yesterday...

In case you need a translation, apparently Wyatt loves me very, very, very, very, very much.  That just melts my heart!

Finally, I was interested in using decals to help decorate some areas on my walls.  I know there are some in-home parties that sell decal lettering, but they were a little pricier than I would have liked.  I was thrilled to find decals at The Dollar Tree.  Granted, their selection was limited, and the quality might not be as great.  But, for $1 a piece, I can at least try them out, get a feeling for how they look on my walls.  And, I think they actually look pretty good.  See what you think...

Saturday, May 15, 2010

More Comic Relief

I know.  Two videos in one week.  I hope it's not overkill.  But, here's one more for your funny bone over the weekend.  See you all next week!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Moving Forward

So today my husband & I have officially begun a new adventure.  We just had settlement on a rental property we purchased.  We are landlords now!  I'm still a little shaky.  The settlement itself was pretty nerve-wracking and there were quite a few surprises thrown in the mix.  But we got through it.

I won't go into too many details today.  Like I said, I'm still a bit shaky and I'm not sure I can form coherent sentences.  But, I will say that this is all part of our 5 year plan.  Plus, owning rental property as an investment is something my husband has wanted to do for the last 10 years (since before we were married).  I am not a risk-taker in the least little bit, so this whole process has been way out of my comfort zone.  But, we have been researching, planning, saving for quite a while so the timing seemed right.

Next week I hope to give you some more & why we are doing this and also the mental process I've been going through to prepare for this.  Until then, could you include us in your prayers - that God would give us wisdom and peace.  We'd truly appreciate that.

40 by 40 update:
My quest to lose 40 pounds by my 40th birthday is off track to say the least.  I feel like I take a step forward & 2 steps back.  I'm not going to include actual weight amounts today because I'm just so embarrassed.  Let's just say that I gained back the 1/2 pound I lost plus one.  (I think I've mentioned I'm a very emotional eater - and with all these changes going on, emotions have been running high.)

The good news is I can still accomplish my goal if I put my mind to it.  My 40th birthday isn't until November. But, I need to get serious!  Thankfully, summer and fresh produce are on their way.  Summer is usually a good time for me to focus on eating well.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Chicken and the Egg Incidents

 Many of you know that we have chickens.  They are a source of a great quantity of eggs and also of amusing anecdotes.  Both of the stories I am about to share happened yesterday.

First, I went to feed the chickens yesterday with a somewhat nervous feeling.  We have set up a temporary fenced area for the chickens in the yard so that they can come out of the barn and get some fresh air.  The barn was our winter accomodations for the chickens.  We actually have a chicken coop & another fenced area for them, but they completely decimated the grass last fall & we're giving it a chance to grow back.  Anyway, since they are still getting used to their new fenced area we have been checking at night to be sure they all are back safely in the barn to roost.

We forgot the check the night before & I was so worried that I would encounter missing, or worse, dead chickens.  About 8 of the chickens were already out pecking in the yard when I went out that morning.  We have 12 altogether.  And, usually they all pretty much hang out in the same area.  My nervousness increased.  I wasn't sure what I was going to find when I got in the barn.  Had a wild animal gotten in and killed some?

I walked in the barn and I never could have imagined what I was about to see!  I kid you not!  One of my chickens was hanging upside down by his feet.  String was wrapped around both his feet & he was suspended by that string from a nail on one of the roosting boards.  I freaked a bit!  The chicken was still alive, so I lifted her from off the nail.  But, the bird was a bit traumatized to say the least & without a scissors or knife I couldn't get the string off her feet.

Now, let me tell you, I was convinced someone had come into our barn and strung up our chicken!  I went back in the house & called my husband, telling him exactly that.  Luckily he works right down the road, so he said he'd come and get the chicken untangled for me.  When I showed him the chicken & where I found the chicken hanging my husband started looking at me a little funny.

Turns out that what must have happened is the chicken got itself tangled in a string that had come off a feed bag while it was scratching about.  Then, later when it tried to get down off the roost, the string got caught & thus my hanging upside down chicken.  At least, this is what my husband tells me.

"You're sure someone didn't come in here and string up our chicken?" I demanded.

"I'm sure"  he replied.

I guess I believe him.

The second incident involves my resident 2 year old, Charlie, and about a dozen & a half eggs.  I was feeding Baby Joseph in the living room.  My husband was in the basement & the other 2 boys were off playing.  I had a feeling Charlie was too quiet.  Why don't I just let these pictures speak for themselves?

When I found Charlie he was standing in the middle of that mess, stomping away on those eggs.  I think my dear husband saw that I was in danger of 'cracking' and cleaned it all up.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Comic Relief

This makes me laugh so hard. It gives me a picture of what sibling rivalry will look like in another 10 years or so.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Kids Room Chaos and Pom Pom Problem

If there is one thing I find frustrating, it's finding ways to get my boys involved in the cleaning and maintenance of our home.  Granted, they are still young, but I feel like I have a window of time to teach them these skills or all hope may be lost in the future.  The fact that I struggle with keeping after clutter & staying organized myself makes it even more difficult.

In particular, my boys bedroom is truly a disaster zone.  The majority of their toys are stored there because we just don't have that much space in our house.  We have very little closet space (no closets at all downstairs).  And, the three oldest boys share one room.  Does that sound like a recipe for chaos?  It is.

I took pictures this morning of my boys bedroom.  I am embarrassed to share them here.  But, for the sake of being honest and real, I will.  Plus, I am calling on you organized moms out there and requesting any suggestions you may have for how to tackle this.

Note the unfinished closet in the boys room.  This is a project I would love to have completed, but in order for my husband to finish out this closet, he has to finish the upstairs heating ventilation system...a rather large task.

May I make a disclaimer?  There are a few things that I know I am inconsistent on.  1.  I should have them clean up one item before getting out another.  2.  I probably should get rid of 3/4 of the toys they have.  Really.  They don't even play with most of it.  3.  I feel somewhat responsible for the book disaster area.  I love books and we really do read their books over & over.  It's hard for me to let go of any of their books. 

Next stop on the tour is the baby's room.  They big boys toys spill over into this room as well, but it's not as bad as the other room.  Still....

This next picture is of the closet in the baby's room.  As I mentioned we have very limited closet space.  The house had no closets at all when my husband bought the house and added the few that we have.  You will see my attempt at organizing their toys.  I have bins for each of their small toy items - legos, lincoln logs, k'nex, Mr. Potato head, instruments, tinker toys, etc. etc.  Also, note that the clothes hanging in this closet are mostly mine.  My husband's clothes hang in our bedroom's tiny closet.

The next pictures are of the boys room after it's been cleaned by the 5 yr. old & 2 yr. old today.  My husband comes home at lunch and lit a fire under them to get this task done.  You'll notice the floor is now cleared, but it's still extremely cluttered.

Oh, and how in the world do I teach a 6 year old & 5 year old to make their bunk beds?  Even I have a hard time making the bed on the top bunk.

So, there you have it.  My first dilemna of the day.  Like I said, any words of wisdom would be welcome!

Next I have a dilemna for my crafty friends out there.  I saw this hanging tissue paper pom pom idea floating around.  I was going to put a picture on here of the finished products I'd been seeing, but for some reason I'm not able to get my downloaded pics to post here.  Instead you can go to this link to see what I'm aiming for.  Instead my pom poms look like this....

I'm just not sure how to get it to look the way they do on the tutorial.  I'm not particularly crafty, but this looked like an easy one to do with short, simple steps.  Has anyone else tried these?  Any tips?

Have a great Tuesday everyone!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Some Post- Mother's Day thoughts

I hope all of you had a wonderful Mother's Day! My hubby and I were able to get away on Saturday night for a date. We went out to eat... which is one of my all-time favorite things to do. I had this amazing dish. May I tell you about it? It was a balsamic-glazed salmon served over lemon-garlic risotto and sauteed arugula & spinach. It was topped with pistachio butter. Oh my word, my mouth is watering again just writing this!

I told my husband I wish I knew how to prepare those kinds of dishes at home. But, my home cooking is pretty much that...home-style cooking. I guess that's what makes eating out so special.
Then, on Saturday night, my oldest son Wyatt told me that I needed to stay in bed on Sunday morning. No problem! With my husband's help he made me eggs & toast and brought it to me in bed.

So sweet! Can I admit that I felt a little funny eating in bed? Still, it was nice. We also had baby dedication at church on Sunday and Joseph was one of 15 other babies who were dedicated. Afterwards our families came back to our house for lunch. Overall, it was a great day!

Just to keep a nice, solid dose of reality in the midst of all the Mother's Day sentiments I thought I'd share 2 quotes from my children this weekend.

1. "MOM! Charlie threw all the toilet paper in the tub!" The tub was filled with water incidentally and the boys were supposed to be getting into it for their baths.

2. "My head! My head! You are sitting on my head! You are sitting on my HEAAAAAD!!!"

Ah, yes. Life with boys.
Speaking of a nice dose of reality, I strongly recommend you read this post over at Mama's Minutia. She has so eloquently put into words some things that I've been thinking.

Oh, and one last item of business, I totally forgot to do my 40 by 40 update on Friday. So here goes...better late than never.

Starting weight: 190.5 lbs.
Weight on 5/7/10: 190 lbs.
Weight lost since previous week: 2.5 pounds (if you remember, I GAINED 2 pounds my first week)
Total weight lost from starting weight: 1/2 pound

O.k. - So, it's not great. But, we're headed in the right direction folks!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Up Late and 25 Random Things

I'm up late tonight waiting for some broth to cool that I cooked off a turkey carcass. We had a turkey for dinner tonight...yes a whole one. Well, we didn't eat the WHOLE thing. I decided to make it so I'd have plenty of turkey meat for turkey BarBQ sandwiches. Joseph will be part of baby dedication at church on Sunday and we invited the family back to our house for lunch afterwards.

Anyway, my boys were confused because they associate a big turkey dinner with Thanksgiving. And, they couldn't figure out why I was baking an entire turkey on some random night of the week. Everyone sure enjoyed it though. Edison even declared that the green bean casserole was 'Awesome!'.

Speaking of randomness...I thought I'd post something that I'd written on my facebook page a while back. It was a fun little thing that people were doing called 25 Random Things About Me. I love reading stuff like this about other people. It's always interesting to see what people will share about themselves when the parameters are so wide open.

So, in honor of random turkey dinners on weekday nights, here is...

25 Random Things About Me
1. I drink almost an entire pot of coffee every morning. I am definitely a caffeine addict.

2. I am equally dependent on chocolate. There must always be something chocolate in the house.

3. I have my degree in elementary/early childhood education. I spent many years working with children in various setttings. I taught 2 yrs in the public school - one in 5th grade & one in 6th grade. I have worked in various daycares. I taught Kindergarten at KinderCare...where I later went on to become the Assistant Director and then, the Director. Despite all the education & experience I have related to children, raising my own children is the toughest job I have ever had!

4. I love to read & I will read almost anything I can get my hands on. I remember babysitting one time & over the child's nap time I looked around the house for something to read & couldn't find anything! There were no magazines, no books, no newspapers anywhere. I totally don't get that!

5. I accepted Jesus into my heart at a very young age & lived a very 'good, Christian life' through my teen years & through college. After college I moved out of my parent's home and bit by bit fell away from God. I regret the way I lived through the majority of my 20's. But, God never let go of me. And, I finally came to understand His love, His salvation, and His grace.

6. I love to sing Karoake. I'm a bit embarrassed to admit it, but my signature song used to be 'Kiss Me Deadly' by Lita Ford. Go figure.

7. John proposed to me on a missions trip we took together to an ophanage in Juarez, Mexico.

8. When John & I met he was dressed as the Grim Reaper & I was dressed as a snow fairy.

9. Swing dancing was a big part of our life when we were dating. We would dress in our 40's garb & everything. I still have all my old vintage dresses that I'll never fit into again if anyone is interested.

10. I like to cook, but I love to bake.

11. I love to eat out when I get the chance. Our favorite place was a short-lived restaurant called Ellington's. I'm not sure what my favorite place is now...but I love Italian food!

12. I used to waitress at El Serrano (an awesome Mexican/ Peruvian restaurant in our area) before they became the huge, sprawling place they are now.

13. I grew up with all sisters, so having all boys is a whole new ballgame for me. Life is never dull with a houseful of boys.

14. I tend to be very fearful, worried person. I struggle with that daily.

15. You wouldn't know it by looking at my house, but I am a perfectionist. I believe my house is a mess, because I don't have the time to make it perfect. Why start what I can't finish?

16. I wish I could be supermom, but I can't

17. I used to go out dancing 3 nights a week - this was in my 20's. I do love to dance & I miss it. It's a great workout too. I didn't struggle with my weight as much when I went out dancing.

18. I've gone through various stages where I was searching for my identity - I've tried out hippie, punker, rockabilly, & alternagirl personas. The most freeing thing for me is realizing I don't have to fit myself into any categories. I can just be me.

19. I am petrified of heights. I can't go beyond the 3 rung of a ladder without feeling lightheaded.

20. I've always wanted to be a wife & a mother...always. I am so happy & blessed to be both of those things. But, I will say that marriage & motherhood are nothing like I expected them to be.

21. I enjoy being frugal & living a simple life. Still, there are times I wish I didn't have to live this way & that I could splurge on stuff without a second thought. Contentment is something I strive for.

22. I moved 6 times in 8 years when I was single. After move #6 my dad told me he'd only help move me again when I got married & moved in with my husband. I guess I took him seriously. Move #7 was to my first home as a married woman.

23. I used to go to the Cornerstone festival (a Christian music festival) in Illinois every summer

24. I can not drive stick shift...nor do I want to.

25. I have a secret desire (Ok - maybe not secret anymore) to someday be a writer of some sort. Writing is the only way I can organize my thoughts & emotions in a clear way. I am not a public speaker!

Would you share some random item or two about yourself? I'd love to hear them!

Check it Out

I'm not sure I have a whole lot to say today.  Baby Joseph has decided that sleeping is optional and our nights have been a little rough lately.  Therefore, my brain is a bit fuzzy.

 So today, I am simply going to encourage you to check out my friend Kerri's blog, Pleasures of My Life.  She is one crafty gal.  And, she is wealth of creative and simple craft ideas.  Her post today is on bulletin boards and magnets.  She shares a really cute way to use all those little trinkets our children seem to treasure and we seem to always be stepping on.  I love it!  Take a minute and visit her today!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Boys Are Easier Than Girls?

There seems to be a recurring theme when people find out that I have all boys.  Often the setting is at the store, library, doctor's office, etc. etc. when I'm running errands with my boys.  Incredulously they'll ask, "HOW many boys do you have?".  I'll respond that I have four.  Then they'll usually say something like 'Oh, you're busy' or 'My, you have your hands full'.  But, here's the part that is funny to me, they almost always follow that up with, 'Well, boys are so much easier than girls.'

At this point I usually nod & smile & say, 'Yeah, that's what I've been hearing.'  And I do hear it.  A lot.  As in, at least once or twice a week.  And, it has me wondering.  Are they just offering of form of consolation for the fact that I have all one gender?  Or, is it really true?  Many of the people I've talked to are quite insistent that boys are far easier to raise than girls.

Now I have to admit, I'm not sure I believe them.  Granted, I have no daughters with whom to make a comparison.  But it's hard to imagine.  I see the little girls at church in their flowery dresses, clean faces, and shiny hair.  Even the way their hands touch their parents, or their feet touch the floor seem so...delicate, demure.  Of course, I'm making these observations as I'm attempting to keep my 2 year old from wrestling the 5 year old in the aisle.  And, my 6 year old is slumping so far off his seat he'll soon be under his chair.  Their clothes are rumpled, their hair askew, and their faces are far from clean.

I always imagined myself as a mother to daughters.  In my pre-children days I figured maybe I'd have at least one boy in the mix.  But, I always pictured fixing a little girl's hair, dressing her in adorable outfits, having tranquil moment laying in the grass and observing the clouds.  Instead, I have sons...4 of them.  The cloud of testosterone in our house is so thick you really can see it.

Boys are messy, noisy, so filled with energy that can quickly become out of control unless they are given some outlet.  They are competetive with each other and can easily become angry.  Their arguments can quickly become physical.  With boys everything seems to be in hyperdrive, multiplied by 10.

So, I guess I'm not completely convinced that boys are easier.  But, I know I wouldn't trade my boys for the world.  There are a few other things I'm finding about boys.  They love their mama wholeheartedly.  They are spontaneous with their affection - usually in the form of flowers picked from the field (or my flowerbeds).  They are bright and incredibly curious.  They are imaginative and creative.  And, boys make life so very, very interesting.

Easier?  The jury is still out on that one.  Do they bless me?  Absolutely!

Monday, May 3, 2010

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

We woke up to a blessedly cool morning.  It had been hot & humid all weekend, but a thunderstorm came through last night.  And, today started cool & breezy.  I love that!  It was also a good morning because my husband was finally feeling well enough to return to his normal routine.  He had been very, very sick since Friday afternoon.  I actually had to drag him to the doctor on Saturday and then he slept the remainder of the day. Both of those things are unheard of for him!

Maybe it was because I started the day in a good mood that I was even more aware of those things that make me happy.  Anyway, here are a few things that bring me joy...

Baked Oatmeal
I never thought I'd like baked oatmeal & so I never really tried it until last year when a friend of mine brought some to me.  I couldn't believe what I'd been missing out on all these years.  Yum!  I was hungry for some this morning so I whipped up a batch for breakfast.  I usually add fruit to it with peaches!  Today I made it with some mixed berried I had in my freezer.  Here's my favorite recipe:

Baked Oatmeal
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
3 cups oats (quick or old-fashioned)
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla

Cream together first 3 ingredients.  Add all the rest to creamed mixture.  Bake in 10x10 pan at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes.  (Note:  I usually add fruit - fresh, frozen, canned are all fine.  I even include the juice if it's canned.  Allow extra baking time if adding fruit.)

 Fresh Eggs
We have a dozen laying hens.  Each day they give us between 10-12 eggs.  That's plenty for our own use, some to share, and some to sell.  There is nothing like a fresh egg from home-raised chickens.  The last time I saw a store bought egg & cracked it open it looked sickly to me.

 Flowers from our yard
Those big white blooms are from what I call a snowball bush.  I'm not sure what the proper name is for them. But, they are absolutely one of my all-time favorites!  Oh, and our peonies are blooming right now.  The boys wanted to cut one of them to put in the vase as well. 

 Fresh Herbs
I just bought a bunch of herbs from a nearby roadside stand (anytime I try to grow them from seed I fail miserably).  Summertime is all about sliced tomatoes from my own garden, fresh basil, and mozzarella cheese.   But, my favorite, favorite herb of all is cilantro.  In talking with other people I'm finding that you either love it or you hate it.  I love it!  I'm so excited to make and can my own salsa this year...with lots of cilantro of course.

 These guys
How can I make a list of favorite things and not include them?  

And This Guy
Where would I be without this man?  He has changed my life!

There you have a few of my favorite things.  What are some of your favorite things?  I'd love to hear them!  Have a blessed Monday!
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