Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Coming January Storm

it is going to be a pretty interesting January at our house. It is like the perfect storm, where every possible event, fun thing, stressful work load, and remodel all comes together in one blast of a month.

If (if, indeed) I have the chance to blog about it along the way you will find us deep in the throes of
  • A super fun new year's party
  • a bathroom remodel
  • four saturday's worth of ski lessons for "the big boys"
  • a laundry room addition
  • new basement floors
  • Basketball practices
  • setting up a new clinic in Bend
  • teaching sunday school twice
  • a new therapist hired (read: lots of paperwork with insurance companies!)
  • but NO PUPPY! (let's wait until february at least, sweetie)
Incidentally, I looked up the actual definition of "throe." Turns out it may be a bit of hyperbole on my part. Well anyway, will our marriage survive? Will the kids come out of this first month in 2010 scarred for life?

Stay tuned...

Sunday, November 22, 2009

See you in 2010!

Not that I have been posting much anyway, but i am officially taking a break until 2010. I pray your holiday season is truly wonderful!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Reduce, Reuse

RECYCLE!

I came across a couple of funny posts today so I thought I would recycle them. If you care to comment on any of them, I encourage you to comment on the actual, original post, rather than going to the trouble of coming back to this post to comment. (I get all the comments emailed to me, regardless of how old they are. I love Blogger!)

Funny post #1 is brought to you by Jackson, at age four.

And this one, courtesy of Jackson and Davis, last Christmas.

Here is some fact checking from my brain.

And finally, some chuckles from Weston. If you really wnat something enjoyable, be sure to click on the links that are in this post.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Hospitality?

I jsut read a friend's blog post about hospitality. She REALLY knows how to make you feel welcome, and I say that from experience. She also loves the process of preparing for guests. I admire that. Anyway, reading her post made me think of some advice I got once a few years back.

I don't know how hospitable this is, but this older friend of mine told me once that she used to scrub and polish the house to spic-and-span standards (tiring herself out in the process) for when the grandkids who live a couple hours away came to visit. She eventually realized that not only was she too tired to really enjoy the kids but also the dirt she so surrepeticiously scrubbed away was trekked in moments after they arrived. She would have to scrub and polish all over again as soon as they left. She decided from then on that before the kids came over she would "straighten" but not scrub. She now saves the scrubbing for when they leave. The notion absolutely blew my mind. You mean I could NOT spic-and-span my house before a bunch of people come over? Really?!?! I thought about all the times when I was too tired to actually enjoy gatherings at my house because I have worked so hard to get ready for them.

This paradigm shift was right up my alley.

So now you know a little secret about me. Next time you are at my house, feel free to notice the dirty floors. You can know that tomorrow (or maybe the next day), they will be clean. You should stop by then and see.

Now, aren't I hospitable?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

All Set for September to Start

I am a bit embarrassed to admit it since it is nearing the end of October, but I am just now finally ready for school to start. Granted, my two school-aged kids have been attending school since they opened the doors September 4th but I have not organized myself until just now. Er, well, I guess I still have some organizing to do, but the one thing I really wanted to get set up is just now finally set up.
The chore and laundry schedule. (Insert scary "Psycho" music here, if you like.)

I had a GREAT one all set up for myself and the boys for the summertime, when they had all day to whittle away on their chores. But I knew it needed to be modified for the school year. The reality of soccer and school (oops, I have that backwards don't I!!) is that there are not as many minutes in the day for the boys to do their homework, have free playtime, read together, AND accomplish the healthy list of summer chores. Well, there is that time, I guess, but then there are no empty spaces in the day to have poignant conversations about life and God. And we can't afford to let that to be missed.

So a Fall Chore Schedule I did create. (High Five to me!) I will introduce it to the boys after school. They won't know what hit them.

The interesting thing I discovered in these past 7 weeks without a plan of action is that I tended to hand chores out on any given day based upon my level of frustration or stress. Frustration with my load, frustration with their arguing, stressed about meeting all the needs of the day, frustration with the incredible mess we lived in, frustration-stress-frustration.

We want our boys to be hard workers. We want our boys to be responsible. We want our boys to work diligently without complaining. I am pretty sure these past 7 weeks were not actually accomplishing that. I am pretty sure they were instead learning how to avoid them ("play quietly with your brother and she won't bother you").

I am thankful to have a plan again. It feels good to be unemotional and in control in this area (there are ENOUGH areas that I have little control with... more on that, perhaps, later). It is one less thing I have to expend energy on, that thing being thinking up the day's chores.

I have made a sheet that spells out each day's chores for each boy (and you will remember that my boys do their own laundry now...oh I have a funny story about that...). We chatted yesterday about what it really means to, for example, clean the bathroom or do your laundry. Expectations have been set. The boys highlighted their name everywhere they saw it. They taped the list to a place where they can see it. They know all about the "bonus reward" they can receive for accomplishing the chores well all week without complaining or reminders.

The other person being trained, here, is ME. I can now look at my piece of paper with MY chores on it and know what I need to accomplish today (and today only!) so that by the end of the week generally everything has been given the once-over. I am a quasi-perfectionist which means that if i don't think i can do it perfectly, I won't bother to do it (what's the point!). Having a week long plan helps me through the hurdle in my mind, allowing me to just be diligent in today's work knowing that the rest will take care of itself.

Let the training recommence!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Parenting Honesty

I recently chatted with another mom who has a child with similar characteristics to one of my children. Her words to me describing what she encounters each day sent me back into the world I lived in for three years. I remember those years being a challenge, but I had not thought of the specifics for quite a while. It was good to rehearse those so that I could see just how much progress we had made with this child.

Since that conversation I have been thinking a lot about the journey that I have been on with that child. There is a mound of history. I have so many unpleasant memories of times when he threw flaming, torrential fits. I remember the time I let him sleep in my bed one time and after that he got up multiple times every night for more than two months claiming to be scared and asking to sleep in my bed. I vowed never make that mistake again. I remember the times - the many, many times - he got so angry that he was not getting his way that he screamed angrily for more than an hour on his bed. So many memories and I just can't help but remember...

Really and truly, he is not a "bad kid" by any stretch, but lets just say that when ANY of my children are causing trouble, it is this child's name that is on the tip of my tongue. Its a force of habit, I tell you. It is unfortunate but true that the rocky history impacts nearly every interaction between the two of us. Often, either my dukes are up and ready for a fight, or I tip-toe away from potential conflict. Either way, I distance myself from him. I have forgiven but not forgotten his stubbornness, his angry fits, his manipulation.


The verses from Ephesians 6 make sense to me: "Children obey your parents in the Lord for this is right. Honor your father and mother which is the first commandment with a promise: that it may go well for you, and that you will enjoy a long life on the earth." (emphasis mine)


The reality of life is that when you make poor choices, when you are difficult to get along with, when you allow your passions to rule you, there are quiet consequences. A quiet consequence here appears to be the distance between us and my frequent assumption that he is at fault. Stay with me please because I have yet to articulate what is on my heart this evening.

I go back to the recent conversation I had with this mother, and how it convicted me. In that conversation I encouraged this mom to attempt to really understand her difficult child. "Crouch down and try to see the world from his perspective," I said. "Sometimes what looks like disobedience is actually frustration due to the child's inability to fully communicate. Sometimes he is not mad that he can't have what he wants but instead he is merely angry because he never did get you to understand what it really was that he wanted." To be understood is a deep and pressing need. To meet (or attempt to meet) that need is a great gift we can give our children (or our spouse!).


Now my child has moved past the intense preschool years and can communicate better, can cope with life more effectively, and has tools to play better in that sandbox. I am so thankful that those years are in the past. But my memory pulls us back there. Our interactions continue to be colored.


But God.


How long is His memory? What does He ask of me? As a mature Christian parent I believe he asks me to put on the fruits of the spirit, especially when I conjure up the memories. I believe he asks me to offer up compassion. I believe He asks me to confess the memories I refuse to release. He asks me to renew my mind. Think differently about this child. Speak differently about and to this child. God's mercies are new every morning. EVERY MORNING.


His divine power has given us everything. Everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him... (2 Peter 1:3).


Last night my little guy woke up scared. Was he? Who knows. My flesh wanted to march him back to bed and get back to bed myself. But the Lord spoke very clearly to me and so I listened. I willingly "forgot" the memories and smiled at my boy, "Hi sweetie. You are scared? Come here." And we hugged. I lost a little more than an hour's sleep last night, but I met my boy's need to be understood with compassion. There is no amount of sleep that could replace that.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Faith Like a Child

"Why does that book say 'IF God is Good?' God IS good," says Davis, reading the title of Randy Alcorn's newest book which rested on our dining table.
"Well," I reply, "Because there is a very big question that people, especially those who do not yet beieve in God, want to know. That questions is, 'if God is good then why is there so much evil and suffering in the world?'"
With a look of perplexity he answered, "That shouldn't be such a big book. All it needs is one page in it that says, 'Because sin got into the world.'"

"Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. "Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it at all." And He took them in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands upon them. (Mark 10:14-16 NASB)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Teething Intensity

He was not crying, and hardly even squawking, but here you see the fruit of his labor:



Ok, Lord. What is in store for us with this wonderful little guy?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Cutie-Pie

Last Saturday Ryan and I had a casual business meeting at our home. I decided to sit the kids in front of a movie and float in and out of the meeting as needed. A couple of times Weston came up the stairs, crying about one thing or another. When he is crying and you ask him "what's the matter?" his only answer is, "I-duh-know!!" The first two times he came up crying it was because he was being a pill to his brothers and they had finally had enough of it, so when he came up crying again, I bypassed the "What's the matter" formality and went straight to, "Oh, Weston. Are you causing trouble downstairs again?"
Sobbing, he replies, "Yeah!!!"
I pick him up and hug him. It's hard being two. All you want to do is stand two inches in front of the TV so no one else can see it. But nobody likes that. When my comfort to him was not followed by me carrying him back downstairs to "fix" the problem, he said (still crying): "You come downstaiws an' cause twubble WIFF ME! You cause twubble WIFF ME!!"

Such a funny little nut.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Big Foot

Sort of on a whim, I decided to teach our church's "Kids Klub." I did it last week, and I am doing it again this week. Probably the week after, as well. Kids Klub is the class our 1st-5th graders go to during the sermon. The man who usually does it is A-MAZE-ING so I went into it knowing I had some fairly large shoes to fill. No worries: I have big feet (literally). Big feet figuratively? Hummmm, we will see.

I decided to teach from a children's bible study book, written by Kay Arthur called How to Study the Bible for Yourself: For Kids. Last week I was a detective, noticing as many things about the classroom and surroundings as I could so i could make a good guess as to what was going on at this place we were all at. Of course we all knew it was church, but I noted to the kids that if i only noticed SOME of the clues out there, I very likely could have gotten it wrong. Afterall, we worship in a school and we were meeting in the teacher's lounge. We went through all sorts of "bad guesses" I could have made if I had not bothered to notice the clues available.

I taught them (in a fun way, I might add) the three words: Observation, Interpretation, and Application. I can't wait to see if the kids remember the hand guestures we learned from last week. This week I will essentially redefine "detective's clues," calling them CONTEXT. You know, the Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How questions. And the study actually has the kids opening their Bible to Titus (a nice and short book!) to attempt to answer these questions. I have some tricks up my sleeve and I can't wait!

A report after last week's class: I had a great time teaching those 12 boys and 5 girls (what's with that ratio?!). I came out of the class soaring. I just LOVED it. I just have to add at this point that after the class was over my good friend Tiffany asked how it went. Her daughter (one of the five girls in the class) was right there so I turned to her and said, "I don't know, how do YOU think it went, Ainsley?" Now if you know anything about her, you know she does not mince words so I was taken aback when her response to her mom was, "It was good. She did a really good job." Never in my life have I received such high praise as a glowing compliment from Miss Pate. Thanks for making my week, girl!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Where did September Go?

September marked some pretty significant changes in our household. Wanna hear about them?

Jackson entered Kindergarten. Day one report: "It was good" (said with a smile). Day two report: "It was GREAT!" He has come home with new tricks up his sleeve, like when he wants to say something, his arm shoots straight up in the air and he WAITS for me to call on him. I like this trick.

I should mention that Davis has made the transition to second grade quite well. He has the same teacher as last year, and most of his classmates are the same.

Soccer-soccer-soccer. Unlike baseball, the season of soccer is actually rather manageable. Games only last an hour, and practices are not nearly so frequent and intense. Actually, we are hosting Davis' soccer practices in our backyard. That has been fun. But really, the best part is watching the boys play their hearts out. Jackson runs circles around his team mates. They have put him on "goalie" to prevent him from scoring every 90 seconds. (They had him just passing a lot, which he was more than willing to do, but after he passed it to a team mate, they would promptly lose it so Jackson would go get it again and the series of events would repeat themselves. Eventually he gives up and just goes ahead and scores. Pretty funny. Davis is learning a new level of competition this year and it is called "having a goalie." "It's hard to score when there is a goalie!!" says he. He's doing well, none-the-less.

Working less. I have transitioned some of my duties at work over to my trusty (and amazing) assistant at work. As a result I have less on my plate and can work fewer hours per week. (I have been working 20 hours for about 18 months, and the goal now is for me to work 10 hours a week instead.) It has been very clear that this change is long overdue. We added a kid 10 months ago, which increased the demands on my day but did not adjust my life. I have had too much on my plate for too many months and to be really honest, I let the eternal things drop. It is time for a change!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Public School, Year 4

School starts Tuesday. My babies are in 2nd grade and Kindergarten. We went to school yesterday to drop off the school supplies they asked each student to buy. My two grade-schoolers left with excitement coursing through their veins. They can't wait for what lies ahead.

As a Lord-loving mother, I share in their excitement. I can relax any teacher-trepidations I might have had this year because both my kids have teachers we have had in the past. They are both women who pass the "sniff test" with flying colors. My second grader has developed a track record of (somehow) picking out the kids that are fellow believers and befriending them - though he rarely knows what they believe. It occurs to me that I need to give glory to the Lord for this one! My kindergartner has yet no track record for the kind of friends he makes (all his friendships thus far have been through church and via my friendships with other mothers). I do know one thing about him, though, and it is this: he follows the crowd.

Here enters trepidation.

I praise the Lord that on Day One of school for him, I know his propensities and weaknesses. I know what to keep an eye on, and I can anticipate the kinds of conversations we will have. I will need to use words such as "leader" to describe him to himself and talk about standing strong in the face of temptation. They will be good mother-son conversations. I pray they would be filled with grace, compassion and hope.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Free Stuff Friday

Diane Moore hosts a radio show weekdays from 1-2pm on 800AM KPDQ where she takes calls from parents asking for advice. This friday, every caller who asks a question gets a free gift. (The show is still pretty new so there are not many who call in yet... your chance of receiving a free something is pretty high.)

Imagine the possibilities... Books! Dinners Out! Trips to Disneyland! One Million Dollars! (we can dream...)

So think up a parenting question today, write it down on your kitchen white-board so you remember your question (and to help you remember to actually listen to the show).

Yesterday I called in because my son seems to have set up an idol in his heart. I asked her how I should guide him through the process of reinstating GOD to His rightful place in his heart, rather than the television. Her answer was helpful. Today she answered the question from another caller: "My two-and-a-half year old is playing games with me at naptime. How should I deal with the power struggle?" (I reworded the question to be concise, in case you were listening today...) Don't you wish you heard her answer to THAT ONE?!

As I was listening today, I thought tomorrow I might ask the question, "How do you talk your highly competitive son down from a frustrated tyrade when he does not score even one point while playing basketball with his older (taller, stronger) brother?"

Does that get your creative question-asking juices flowing?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Pretty Obtuse for this Blog

Never have I been more entertained reading a recipe than I have by this one. I first heard of it (and saw the succulent pictures) on Ming's blog. Ming is my sister. She is not Chinese. Her name is actually Megan Nichole. And yes, the "H" belongs there. Of course it does. Our folks spelled my name Jenne with an "E" at the end - not a"Y" or "IE" like all the other Jenny's out there. So, why NOT put an "H" in Nicole?!

And the name "Ming" came into being by way of my children. Davis called her Meenie for the longest time. Pretty silly, since she doesn't have a "meanie" bone in her body. And Jackson tried to call her Meenie, but it always came out "Mingy" which was a huge hit with all the family when shortened to the Asian form, "Ming."

Even her husband calls her Ming. What percentage of the time do you refer to your beloved wife as "Megan," Okie? Dare I explain his nickname?

Last week, Weston called her "Megan" and we all stopped for a moment and wondered where on earth he heard that from. Like it is a dirty word or something. No worries. We corrected him: "Her name is Ming, sweetie."

Anyway, go enjoy the Ginger Steak Salad.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Story Hour


I have just found gold!! It is a website of free audio downloads... all are lovely children's stories! It is called The Story Home. There seems to be a nice mix of stories for both girls and boys.


I have downloaded a few so far:

The Frog Prince

The Steadfast Tin Soldier

George Washington's Shoes

The Tale of Peter Rabbit

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

M&Ms and Sheep

I needed to borrow my Dad's Expedition for a couple of days while our van was in the repair shop. They are out of town so I took the liberty. I grabbed the keys from their kitchen counter and grabbed from a Costco-sized bag THE BIGGEST HANDFUL of M&Ms I could. Not being able to drive their unfamiliar big rig with only one hand, I looked for some place to set my copious number of candy-coated chocolates. Finding nothing ideal, I carefully placed them on the center consul and slowly, ever-so-slowly, drove off. Though my pile was large, I really did not want to lose even one.

Then I took my first turn and two started sliding. Risking life and limb (its a curvy driveway), I quickly placed my hand over the two rouge fellows in a protective move. Silly, I thought. I have so many. What's one or two less?

Then I took my second turn. And I lost one between the consul and my seat. Looking beside me, I could just see him peeking his little orange face up at me. I reached for him...but alas he disappeared into the crumbly, dusty place that is classic of a car's crevice. I mourned a moment (really, I did) and then I thought of the parable of the lost sheep. And I understood a little more about why the shepherd would leave his ninety-nine sheep in search of the lost one.
If I can mourn an M&M, how much more would He mourn an image-bearer?

Friday, August 14, 2009

Cultus 2009



Another wonderful Cultus memory has been logged on the fingerprints of our family. This year was by far the most usual trip, as we went without my parents or my sister and her family. I have never gone without my folks. Though we missed them all dearly, we had an amazing time. It was incredible to experience Cultus all on our own. So,little five-year-old Jackson tried his hand at skiing. And he did great. He would get all geared up for it, all the equipment on, wanting so badly to keep up with big brother. And then just as the boat is pulling the rope taunt, you can hear him say, "Uh, I want to do this later. I will do it today, but just not now." And that is the point were we would say, "Here we go, sweetie! Hit it!" And he would hang on for dear life. When he was done he was beyond proud of himself.



And Davis promised Grandpa (who was not with us, remember) that he would "ski every day." And he kept to his word. He took that promise incredibly seriously. What is more, he decided that "the red skis" (smallest size, tied together, rope handle connected to them) were no longer for him. He was intent on mastering "the grey ones" that are significantly bigger and not tied together. Its a big jump to go to these ones. I was impressed by his tenacity and courage. I think he was too.
This is the only picture it seems I snapped of Baby D. He is army-crawling now, so I set up this play yard with a blanket below him and canopy above. He was pretty content. And when he wasn't, there were a number of arms holding him (thank you Pam, Dean et al!).

Dad let us take his boat up (another HUGE first) and Ryan was a master. He drove the truck and trailer like he had been doing it for years. He pulled up to buoys and docks like a super-cool dude. Just look at him. He is so groovy.




Though I would have preferred to be asleep, I did catch a sunrise one morning on my way to the outhouse.



And to keep the record straight, sleep was a bit elusive. But the baby was not the problem. He slept every camping night for 12 hours straight. Not a single night waking. Weston, on the other hand, was his regular self and woke up randomly several times each night. Jackson woke once to a full bladder and couldn't fall asleep again in the "big boy tent." He traded places with Ryan and slept much better that night. And yes, the two older boys slept in their own tent. I still can't believe they were willing to do that. Don't tell them this, but I would NEVER have slept in a tent without my parents. Not even into high school.


Our last day camping (the day we broke camp) it rained all day long. The kids hardly noticed and just played right through it. Fun to the last drop!

See you next year, Cultus!!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Don't Ask

We have a walk-in pantry that houses just about everything under the sun from our thrice-used China dishes to a well-used child's magic set. This "pantry" is the place I toss things when I don't have a place, and a few food items here and there. The shelves are already full, so every new addition goes on the floor. You can imagine how well-organized it is. I usually have to step over a stack of paper plates, TV trays, and a breadmaker to access the playdough. After our Family Easter Gathering the room held the empty plastic Easter eggs that all the kids had hunted for (each egg at one time held two whole M&Ms). I think those eggs found their way up to the attic where they belong sometime late in June.

The impetus for cleaning out the floor of the pantry is usually one of two things:

1. I can't actually reach any of the shelves anymore, or
2. embarassment.

It is a good thing I have long arms and that I am not easily embarrassed because I don't re-organize this pantry often. But the good thing about this pantry (besides storing homeless items) is that it affords us some good photo opportunities for Weston.


I call this shot:
I Fwine-num! Em-em-ems!
If you look closely, you can see that every single egg has been pulled from its basket and opened. You see he has four eggs left in front of him to open and move to the "opened eggs" location. He is methodical, is he not? Perhaps he will enjoy organizing my pantry someday. He eventually found One Single M&M. He was ecstatic, yelling, "I fwine-em! I fwine-num em-em-em!"



And this one I call
Don't Ask
Yes. I know he is n*ked. No, I did not remember that I had not finished dressing him that morning. Oh well. Welcome to "four kids and a part-time job."

Diamond Lake Fun!





Diamond Lake this year was a blast! We stayed longer than I have ever stayed, with fewer people that I have ever experienced. It was pretty much just our crazy family of six, plus Grandma and Grandpa Glover. We rode bikes, got dirty, swam, got dusty, roasted marshmellows (or as jackson calls it, "marshed some mellows"), got sticky, fished, got stinky, bathed, got filthy... etc., etc., etc.
The real bonus for me is the fact that I slept!! Do you remember last year?? I do.
Thank you, Doug and MaryAnn, for a wonderful trip together. Thanks for letting us hog your time all to ourselves. And thanks for cooking for us, and for watching the baby while we played.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

How Do YOU Do This?

It is one thing to pass our faith on to our children. It is yet another to pass our faith on to our grandchildren. That is not to say we parent two generations, but rather that we pass on our faith in such a strong, authentic, LIVING GOD way to our own children that they cannot help but pass that same faith onto their own kids.

This is on my mind today. If you were to give an answer to the question, "How does this look (or how do you imagine it could look) in your house?" what would you say? I'd really like to hear your thoughts.

Deuteronomy 6

1"Now this is the commandment, the statutes and the judgments which the LORD your God has commanded me to teach you, that you might do them in the land where you are going over to possess it,
2so that you and your son and your grandson might
fear the LORD your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged.
3"O Israel, you should listen and be careful to do it, that
it may be well with you and that you may multiply greatly, just as the LORD, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.
4"
Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!
5"
You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
6"
These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart.
7"
You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.
8"
You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead.
9"
You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
10"Then it shall come about when the LORD your God brings you into the land which He swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you,
great and splendid cities which you did not build,
11and houses full of all good things which you did not fill, and hewn cisterns which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant, and
you eat and are satisfied,
12then watch yourself, that
you do not forget the LORD who brought you from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
13"
You shall fear only the LORD your God; and you shall worship Him and swear by His name.
14"
You shall not follow other gods, any of the gods of the peoples who surround you,
15for the LORD your God in the midst of you is a
jealous God; otherwise the anger of the LORD your God will be kindled against you, and He will wipe you off the face of the earth.
16"
You shall not put the LORD your God to the test, as you tested Him at Massah.
17"
You should diligently keep the commandments of the LORD your God, and His testimonies and His statutes which He has commanded you.
18"You shall do what is right and good in the sight of the LORD, that
it may be well with you and that you may go in and possess the good land which the LORD swore to give your fathers,
19by driving out all your enemies from before you, as the LORD has spoken.
20"
When your son asks you in time to come, saying, 'What do the testimonies and the statutes and the judgments mean which the LORD our God commanded you?'
21then you shall say to your son, 'We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt, and the LORD brought us from Egypt with a mighty hand.
22'Moreover, the LORD showed great and distressing signs and wonders before our eyes against Egypt, Pharaoh and all his household;
23He brought us out from there in order to bring us in, to give us the land which He had sworn to our fathers.'
24"So the LORD commanded us to observe all these statutes,
to fear the LORD our God for our good always and for our survival, as it is today.
25"
It will be righteousness for us if we are careful to observe all this commandment before the LORD our God, just as He commanded us.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

If You've Noticed...

If you have noticed, my activity and the types of entries to my blog have changed recently. It is not for lack of things to write about. I cannot tell you how many times I have had an "ah-ha moment" about one thing or another and thought, "I need to blog about this." But it is very clear to me that the Lord is asking me to button up. "Shh-shh-shh," He keeps saying.

My persepective or understanding on why, right now, He is asking me to just be quiet is that he is pruning me as a wife in deeper than usual ways. It is not painful (yet), just introspective and has actually given me great joy. I have delighted in what the Lord is teaching me in the conversations He and I have throughout the day. I love what I am learning and how gentlely He teaches me.

I am excited to share details with friends face-to-face (or in personal emails) about all that I am learning. The bloggy world, however, will just have to wait for His green light. In the mean time, I hope you enjoy updates on the family as I have time to post them!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The 4th, a bit delayed, but what's new...

We were over at the Wilson's for the forth (along with 42 other people). We had a really nice time. Jen and Andy set things up to maximize the fun for the kids (and the grown Moffat twins), and the shade for the adults. (It was a HOT day!) A big highlight of the evening were the street fireworks. The stockpile of Oregon gun powder was pretty impressive. I think the dads lit of fireworks for 45 minutes straight. Man, oh, man did those dads have fun! Here is the line up of kids enjoying the fireworks. Twenty in all. A handful of babies were asleep inside, too...


My boys really enjoyed themselves. Look here at Davis. He was thrilled when one of the dads gave him this firework. Just look at his intensity. (Of course, if you know Davis at all, you know that there is more acting in that pose than true I'm-gonna-blow-something-up desire. He's got enough "Safety-Doug" in him to keep the whole family safe.
Anyway, he posed for this picture and then Ryan (or someone, I can't recall) lit it for him while it was still in his hand. He brought his arm back in a strong launching position and hollared, "FIRE IN THE HOLE!" and just about threw it with all his might. (Remember, there were 19 other kids here and there... throwing fireworks in this - or any - scenario is not real wise.) Just about every grown up there suddenly yelled, "NO! Don't throw it, Davis!!" He stopped, and his face said something like, "huh? What ELSE would I do with a grenade?"

And in true Davis fashion, he went from this pose, to the one you see below in a matter of 20 seconds. Can you say thespian?



Jackson was quite impressed by all the whirring, wizzing and popping of the fireworks. He sat pretty still, cheering from a safe distance like all the rest of the kids. Isn't the sky behind him beautiful (or as Weston would say, "bee-you-foo-foo")?



Thanks, Wilsons, for a fun party. I hope the clean up in the morning was not too bad for you. Church sure came early for our family after an 11:00PM bedtime... Glad it is just once a year!

Friday, July 3, 2009

A Totally Blogable Moment

Picture this: I am sitting on the top step of our staircase, elbows resting on my knees, hair in a ponytail. Little Wet-den, as he calls himself, comes up from behind me, leans his body against my back and says, "here-ya-go, Mommy. Here-ya-go."

Next, I hear this familiar sound but I cannot immediately place it. I turn to stand and face his sweet little two-year-old self and realize that the "familiar sound" was kitchen scissors to my ponytail!!

I was so dumbfounded I just stood there, with my mouth gaping open trying to process what may have just happened. Stories from Ang's blog flashed in my head. Did I just enter a Window into their world??

My expression got him wondering, I guess, and so he asked: "Wut-da maddow, Mommy? Wut-da maddow?"

He was so innocently baffled as to my dumbfounded reaction that I could not be angry. He clearly thought he was being helpful. Thankfully, the damage amounts to about 50 hairs all about 2 inches long. Hardly noticable (so i think, anyway).

Safe to say that I will be somewhat more diligent about putting my scissors back where they belong...

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Deception at the Paint Store

We are painting the outside of our house this week (ok, someone is painting it for us...). This is not our first "paint the house" experience. The house we lived in previous to this one we managed to paint the color a clown would wear (bright, bright blue - see below). Originally it was even brighter than this picture shows but we brought the $300 worth of too-bright-blue paint back to the paint store and they were able to tone it down. I tell you the honest truth: that blue paint looked SO GREY in the paint store. I feared it would not have the "pop" I was looking for. That was only after we painted the entire back of the house. We then proceeded to repaint over the clowny blue but as you can see, our tone-down was STILL on the circus tent side. There is nothing GREY about this house color!! But we weren't going to paint the whole back side of our house for A THIRD TIME. So we just stuck with it. And so then, when it was all done, we and our neighbors "got used to it." When we needed to give people directions to our house we would say, "right turn on Orchard, and then look for the bright blue one. YA CAN'T MISS IT."

So, here we are, painting our "new" house (it is new to us, but going on 40 years old. Our blue house is newer and prettier, hands down, regardless of the color). And we wanted a very specific look. We studied color after color. We brought the swatches outside, in the sun, in the shade. We agonized over what the trim color should be. We played with swatch after swatch until it was just right. Though we were pretty sure it was what we wanted, we went ahead and bought sample cans. Deceived at the paint store again. So, 7 different samples later (at $5 a shot), we finally settled on "that perfect color" (plus a trim color to coordinate). But still none looked anything like what they seemed in the store. We finally ended up using our 7 different samples to mix our own color. Today, the front of the house is half painted and...

wait for it...

WE LOVE IT! (WHEW!)
I have been searching the archives looking for a "before" picture so you can appreciate the new look. You will just have to imagine the yucky blucky storm windows and blah yellow-tan paint job that is no more!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Observation

Says the 5-year-old as we watches me prepare dinner...

"Mommy, since you can cook, you can be the cooker. Yeah. Mommies are the cookers. And Daddies are 'the gone-ers."

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Dats so Fwunny!

We officially hit "the twos" last week. Yes, my darling silent and compliant child has discovered new octives and decibles with which to communicate his displeasure.

On the other hand, he does make me smile and laugh so much. I think, for everyone's sanity, I need to dwell on "the real Weston" for a while so that I don't get discouraged by this phase of child development. I will start with the funny additions of the sound "fffffff" to many words where "fffff" does not belong (like, for instance, replacing the 's' for an 'f' in "soccer." Yikes), and the wwww sound in any number of words that actually need an rrrrr sound. Its adorable, and this phase of language development passes by so fast.

So, we hear West call Baby Drake "Be-be Fwake," and we hear him say "I fwopped a foon. You ged-it uh fwoon fow me, Mommy?" (I dropped a spoon. Will you get it, the spoon, for me Mommy?") "I neen a fwink-a watow" (I need a drink of water). "Oh dere it is. I fwine it."

I tease sometimes - he doesn't get the joke, though - and ask him, "Did Baby Fwake fwop a fwabberry? Dats Fwunny!!"

He still gets stuck in counting his way up to ten... one, two, free, four, five, fwix, fweben... he hits seven and then goes back to "fwix" and continues the countdown. He ends it with a resounding, "BWAS-TOFF!!"

He calls himself "Wet-den." His current favorite DVRed show is "Fwooper Why."

He has also added to his repetoire of phrases:
"No-a hit a-gack" and "obey a-Mommy da fwerst time" and "Daz MINE!" (do any of these need translation?)

He uses the word "so" often. "I'm SO cold!" "Dats SO fwunny" "I'm SO hung-gy."

He tells this joke, exactly like this:
Weston: nah-nok!
ME: Who's there?
Weston: inr-wruptin cow - MOOOOO! (Its particularly funny because he doesn't get it that he is supposed to wait for me to ask "Interrupting Cow, who?" before interrupting me with the loud "Moo." He just goes right into the big, huge, loud "MOOOO!" and then cracks himself up. And then we all laugh, too, because he is laughing so hard. The big boys have made up a game when he tells this joke where they try to - as quick as they can - say "interrupting cow who?" before he get's his "Moo" out. Its impossible to beat his Moo, but they try anyway. And we all laugh a little harder.

And speaking of laughing, for effect when Weston laughs, sometimes he gets on his knees and pound-pound-pounds his fist on the floor with laughter (can you picture that?). It's fwunny.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Going On Ahead

I fall into a strong temptation as I peruse the blogosphere. Perhaps the scenario is familiar to you as well: I love reading about how some of you out there are running your lives. The details of how you home school, the descriptions of your family life, the . You follow a blog or six long enough and you really get a picture for the vision each family has. One blog that I love to follow is my friend Kristy, who home schools her girls. She and her husband are living their lives on a farm of their own making and have a strong passion for raising their kids to love and serve the Lord. Another blog I enjoy is Joy's. She and her husband are missionaries in Indonesia. You catch very quickly their vision for how they want to raise their kids and the specific values they are passig down. And then there are the random links I follow to other blogs on occasion, where I take a quick glimpse into the lives of people I have never - and likely will never - meet.

You might think that the temptation I am about to talk about is "spending too much time in the blog world." While that is something I must monitor closely, the temptation I am speaking of is much more sinister.

As a result of my own thinking, planning and praying (with the extremely helpful input from my blog community) I have a solid, Biblical idea of how to best raise up my four boys so that they will love and be effective for the Lord in all they do. I am so thankful for all the wonderful (really, truly WONDERFUL) ideas out there that have helped me form a vision for the kind of boys I want to raise - and how to do it.

"Ah," You say, "Why Jenne, I had no idea you were a single mom." Single Mom? What gave you that idea? Oh, I see that I HAVE given you that idea because that is how I am pursuing our family vision: as though I am the one to set it and pursue it.

In all my reading, planning and praying, I mistakenly consult the blogopshere rather than my husband! And as I march on ahead with what I believe to be "clearly the best vision" under which to raise these boys, I have marched right on ahead of my husband. Up until last week, Ryan and I had never even discussed this together - I had never asked him what his vision for our family is! I must have thought that a.) he could read my mind or b.) he couldn't possibly have a vision or c.) he wouldn't be interested in what the vision is (afterall, its my job to raise the kids anyway). Maybe it is a strong combination of all three options. Oh what a fool I have been!

You might not be surprised that the discussion came up as we were reviewing how baseball season went. We all had a lot of fun, but I was sharing my thoughts about how sports were not really going to serve to accomplish the goals "we" have toward raising these boys for the Lord. And my dear husband was quick to gently correct me. As he described HIS vision for our boys, I realized my foolishness. Please note that the point is not about who is right or wrong, or whose vision is better. I would have liked to argue with him that my vision is more godly than his. I would have liked to make clear to him how I have thoughtfully, carefully considered all that there is to consider. (And OOOOhhhh am I good at making myself heard in this arena!) But the Lord closed my lips and spoke to me loud and clear: I must begin pursuing Ryan's vision for our family. The nuances of that vision can be up for discussion later, but before I have any ground to stand on in such a discussion, I need to come under my husband's leadership. No more going on ahead of my husband - not even in the name of "godliness" because there is nothing godly about ignoring or failing to consult the head of the family.

I suppose you will find it ironic that all these thoughts were made clearer to me through a blogger who wrote this post by, yes, someone I have never and will never meet. Go figure.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Mighty Powerful

Photographs cannot capture the height, depth and breadth of nature. The most beautiful sunset in all the world put on photopaper is just another sunset. Breathtaking snow-peaked mountains are made small. The photographs we took of the waterfalls we saw last week are the same: they are NOTHING compared to standing next to the real thing, hearing the noise and sensing the power of the furiously pounding water. It was truly something to behold.

As I was standing there with my oldest nearby I said, "It's so powerful! Whenever I see things like this it reminds me of how powerful God is. You know?"
"Uh huh," was his uninterested response.
"How crazy would it be to be inside that waterfall-or underneath it! I mean, it could hurt you really bad because it is so powerful."
"Yeah!" he said with excitement (stuff like that fuels my boys). "It could probably KILL YOU!"
I echoed his enthusiasm with a resounding,"Oh TOTALLY!" And then, "This waterfall may be powerful but its NOTHING compared to the power of God. God made it and to Him it is just a drop. It does not even come close to God's power!"
"Well I better not mess around with God, then."
"Seriously! You got that right. That's what the Bible means when it says we should fear the Lord. Its not that we should be afraid like He's a monster or something its that we need to realize just how big and powerful and mighty God is..."

I wanted to continue with the theology lesson but determined in my heart that we would need to return to another waterfall in a future spring. There is so much more to consider! There is so much more to understand, like how God has the great power to crush but in that great power He has great control and patience. OH! If my boys (or I!!) could grasp just a sliver of what this waterfall represents it could revolutionize everything we did and thought.


You just don't want to mess around with the Almighty.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Wuzzup!

Yes, I know. "Wuzzup" is so four years ago but hey - I'm in my mid-thirties. And plus I'm a dork. (Just ask my sister's husband.)


This post is dedicated to catching you all up on our happenings since this started:






(Isn't he a stud?)






In between innings, we took a few trips. The first was to San Fran, just Ryan and I. (I still kick myself for not remembering our camera... we bought a tossable 35mm dinosaur. The pictures are still waiting to be picked up at Walgreens. I wonder how many will turn out?






The following weekend we made it up to Long Beach for our annual trip with Ryan's side of the family. I made brief mention of this trip in this post, if you are interested. Here is Grandma and Grandpa with nearly all the grandkids.















And then last weekend we were at Black Butte with my side of the family. It was four nights all crammed into a house that used to fit us all just fine... but it is amazing how much more room you need with the addition of six little bodies. Our four boys plus cousins Jenna and Elsie have so much fun together. The trip consisted of biking, hiking (the highlight for me), swimming, and game playing. Grandma Jeanette comes with us every year - what a treat to be with her. This year she had little Drake in her room. He woke up nearly every night for one reason or another and she selflessly took care of his needs. Thank you Grandma!!












Now take a look at these two sweeties. From the looks of these pictures you would think they were just the best of friends. Megan and I have every reason to believe that that will someday be true. But just not quite yet. OH MY GOODNESS how they push each other's buttons! No matter what one was playing with, the other wanted it. And when that item was handed over in favor of some other toy, suddenly THAT NEW toy was the one to argue over. I cannot count how many times we heard Weston yell, "MINE!" and "Ewsie take aw ub bum!" Megan and I pretty much have to monitor every minute of their play together. This too shall pass, and best of friends they shall be!

And speaking of Weston, check out how DIRTY he got last week. He was playing in mud that D and J were making with the hose in the blueberry patch. He was in heaven! (Notice, if you will, that he is actually in jammies... yes, sometimes it happens that he spends all day wearing dinosaurs on his drawers.










And finally, a short update on the baby. Drake is just such an easy, wonderful baby. He is sleeping 12+ hours a night, is very flexible when we need to mess with his schedule (how else could he have survived baseball season?). He has been rolling from tummy to back for a few weeks and just this week he began rolling - quite on accident - the other way. He is a smiler, always up for playing, and loves it when anyone interacts with him. I just LOVE this little guy!!






Sunday, June 7, 2009

Oh Dear!

We just returned from a wonderful family vacation to find something peculiar in our garden.

What used to look something like this:


Now look like this!
There are three walking pieces of venison that I would like to have a word with...

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Dry Run

Summer is fast approaching. With one in school and the others still preschoolers, I am hardly well-versed at "how to do summer vacation well."
I have a few goals for my soon-to-be second-grader, and my nearly-kindergartner LOVES academic worksheets, math flashcards and reading lessons (how woulda thunk THAT one?) so I want to start the summer running with a new morning routine that mimicks what I imagine homeschool would look like in our house, should we ever go that route.

Wake up
Breakfast
Get dressed & ready for the day
(so far, this is nothing new)
Chores
Homework
Play-play-play!

On Memorial Day we did a "Dry Run," where I gave the kids a taste of what the summer mornings would be like. It was abbreviated and a bit rocky, but the expectations are now set for the older two and I am (nearly) ready with the new, "enhanced" (read: longer!) chore lists.

There is still a little bit of time before school ends, so if this idea gets you all excited, make a plan for this saturday. Or, if you don't have school-aged kids yet, YOU HAVE ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD!

I highly recommend the Expectation-setting Dry Run a week or so before you make the change. Happy thinking!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

That's NOT FAIR!

I have a certain middle child that has been coming to me (with increasing frequency) with this arms crossed, bottom lip protruding and eyes angry saying, "How come I didn't get a ____" or "Why did (brother) get one and I didn't?!" Its enough to drive this mother up the wall. Said child is obsessed with fairness as of late. Before evaluating whether or not the amount of pretzels in front of him is satisfactory for his hunger level, his eyes are on his brothers' pretzel piles and no matter how many are in front of him, AUTOMATICALLY his pile is less than his brothers'. And then the protruding lip, angry eyes and crossed arms are back. With gritted teeth, I might say something like "finish what you have in front of you and if you are still hungry, there are plenty more." I'd be lying if I said I have never lost it in this scenario. It is all I can do to allow him to keep even ONE pretzel. Every ounce of me wants to show him who's boss. "You think you have less? Alright, I'LL SHOW YOU LESS," swiftly grabbing up and dumping the food for which he was so ungrateful.

I have a thing about fairness issues: I am of the opinion that if someone is claiming that something is not fair, no matter how you try to prove how it actually is fair, that person will not be convinced. You may have 100 reasons for each person got what they got; you can count every raisin in front of each sibling; you can set a timer so each turn is ex.act.ly even, but if a child (or adult!) is of the mind that things are not fair, you will not win. There is always a reason why it is STILL not fair. So I have a policy of NOT being fair. Okay, okay, I did make sure each kid (who is old enough to care) had the same number of presents under the tree. And I am guilty of keeping Spiderman paraphernalia equally distributed among the sizes. And I do try to generally make things fair whenever possible. But what I don't do is get into arguments or discussions of fairness. If a child is claiming unfairness, I usually try and focus that child on what they can be thankful for.

HOWEVER, this method is not clicking and the current unfairness bombardment is more than this mamma can take. That is, until today when I had a wonderful ah-ha moment: Oh my. He doesn't trust me. He doesn't trust me. Here's what lead to that epiphany:
He came stomping up the stairs having seen his brother eating a banana: "How come DAVIS gets a banana and NOT ME?!?!?" he said, complete with his standard lip-eyes-arms stance.
(Deep breath, momma. Don't blow...) "Sweetie, when you say things like that," (I imitate him to-a-tee, at this point) you are only causing yourself trouble. When you say things like that (I imitate his words and stance again) does mommy ever give you what you want?"
Angrier eyes coming my way. More deep breathing by Mommy. Lord, help me keep the tone kind and gentle.
"The reason Davis got a banana is because he asked for one. Maybe if YOU asked for one in a kind manner, I might give one to you also. What do you think?"
Shoulder shrug. "Can I please have a banana?"
My face lit up and I handed him a banana. "Little guy, I love to give you the things you want and need. All you need to do is ask, OK?"

When he walked away, I could tell that something new had clicked for him. For that I am thankful. Even more, I am thankful that something clicked for me. He is assuming (right or wrong) that I am going to slight him every chance I get. Here is my opportunity to really build up trust between the two of us. Rather than be frustrated by his angry assumptions, I can and will be patient with him, rehearsing with him all the ways I love to care for his needs (and how he must make proper requests). When he trusts me to care for him like I care for his brothers, I suspect that he will stop focusing on fairness, resting in the knowledge that no matter what others get, meeting his unique needs is paramount to his mommy.

Monday, May 25, 2009

A Lesson in Humiliation

Last week, while sitting on the stands at the baseball field, I listened while a mother humiliated her little girl. I wanted to jump up and pull that mother aside so she could see what was really happening, but instead I knew I could only sit there, with a stomach ache, and wait until it was all over.

The girl, who was about ten, was being accused to going on their home computer and googling a phrase that was (apparently) s*xual in nature. The little girl was horrified that she had been discovered and was flat out denying that it was her. Mom was insisting that it was her and giving her proof by explaining how she can look up the history of internet searches to see where her daughter had been. "I know you did this! But it doesn't matter! It's fine to be interested in this stuff. its totally normal! If you are curious about that sort of thing, you just have to ask." The girl kept on saying, "I'm not curious! It was an accident! I didn't mean to! I typed the wrong thing!" Mom kept on insisting, "I know you did this and it is normal to be curious!"

The girl eventually put her fingers in her ears so she could block out her mom and the whole conversation. The message was sent loud and clear by mom: I am right, you are wrong. I am not to be trusted with your heart.

I can just imagine the scenario that lead up to the google search (and I can imagine it because I remember being a clueless kid when it came to this stuff): The little girl hears some phrase in the gym that "all" the other kids understand but she is clueless about. She laughs along with the other kids, pretending to have a clue while at school but then goes home to figure out what in the world those kids were talking about. She probably has a guess as to the fact that it is s*xual, or at least embarrassing, so she is ashamed to ask mom about it. So she launches a Google search on the subject matter and is even more embarrassed when she discovers what her classmates were talking about. She probably does not know what to do with the information in her head, and is probably ashamed, wishing she never looked it up or learned it - I remember wishing for my innocence back as soon as I learned stuff like this from peers. Her shame is furthered when Mom accuses her of looking it up, insisting that she wanted to know all about that subject matter while in truth, her interest rested in knowing what they were referring to, not in the subject matter itself. (Do you get the distinction? She heard a word and wanted a definition, rather than was introduced to an experience and wanted to learn all the ins and outs.)

The mom's intentions were really good, but she was so argumentative with her daughter that she completely missed a golden opportunity. The poor girl was so humiliated by her mother that it would take a miracle for her to ever come to her mom with further questions. My guess is that she will simply look for a sneakier way to gain knowledge. My heart broke for that girl.

As I was listening and imagining all this, I was keenly aware of the lesson I could gain from one mom's error in judgment.
1. Never, never, never talk about or infer s*x with your child in a public setting.
2. Never accuse your child of being interested in knowing about s*x. "I know you want to know more about it!" (Those were literally some of the words I heard from this mom.) My gut says this will mortify your child and stifle any hope of conversation.
3. Don't argue about non-essentials. As soon as that child denied the google search, mom should have made sure her daughter thought her mom believed her. 'You didn't? Ok. I believe you. If you ever wonder about things that just ask, ok?" We don't want our kids to lie, but in this scenario you don't want to miss the forest for the trees! Let the lie go (it is obviously only covering up embarrassment) in order to build trust in your child in a different and difficult area.
4. Invite your child in to a conversation but don't force them. Matters of the heart take time. So much thinking and processing happens in the quiet moments of the child's heart. You can't rush this process or these conversations. You have to be willing to start and stop them based on the cues your child is giving. So if they are defensive at all, it is time to humbly end it in a way that makes your child know that they are safe to bring it up again.
5. And since the matters of heart take time, start slow and early!

I wonder how applicable this will be in my pursuit to raise BOYS?

Friday, May 22, 2009

I'm Back?

Has it really been two weeks since my last post? heavens!!

Life has been full and busy. Ryan has been covering for his full-time therapist (working something like 65+ hours a week) for the past 5 weeks, we opened our forth location, switched billing companies (a HUGE change in the medical field!!), and adopted a new scheduling program. Baseball has been in full force (remember me mentioning 5 nights a week of baseball? We are ALMOST done with this crazy but FUN sport). Ryan and I took a quick weekend to San Francisco (forgot our camera, but as it turns out Karina was there on the same weekend and took pictures from many of the same places we went to and did many of the same things we did, so if want to know all about our trip, hop over to her blog and just imagine my face where ever you see hers). And finally last weekend we took a trip over to Long Beach for a marvelous family get-away.

Highlights from that trip would be the 12 mile bike ride we took with Davis and Jackson (Weston went too but was a passenger on the back of my bike). D and J were amazing troopers, never once complaining - only begging us to "keep going!!" It was a fun-filled weekend with swimming, kite-flying, digging in the sand, and playing with cousins.

We are just about done with this little season of life - just in time for summer, I suppose, when blogging gets a little hit-or-miss.

Anyway, I thought I would at least let you know I have not fallen off the face of the earth. I am here, and I am (nearly) back!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Wacky, Wonderful Weston


This post is all Weston. He is SERIOUSLY the cutest thing on wheels. I mean we are talking INTENSE CUTENESS.


His "Curious George" way of communicating (a series of uh-uh-uh-UH-uh-uhuhuh-uh sounds, accompanied by LOTS of pointing and hand motions and facial expressions) has given way to a non-stop talker/singer. I just have-to share his cuteness with my bloggy world.


(Each video is only 30 seconds long or less.) Enjoy!


Weston's love affair with SuperWhy

Weston counts NOT to 10

Weston sings Happy Birthday

Monday, May 4, 2009

Book Giveaway!

Make your own list (1-3 or more) that is suggested in the bottom of the previous post and then come back and leave a comment to tell me you did. One person will be the lucky winner of her own copy of The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace. (If you already own it you could always give it away to a friend.)

Winner announced May 8th!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Bitter?

Probably one of the hardest things to overcome in marriage is bitterness. When he has done things that have hurt you (whether he meant to or not) and you have stored those things your heart, bitterness takes root and grows. You may or may not recognize what you are feeling as bitterness but if you are angry or resentful of your husband, that is bitterness. The Bible says that we need to but away bitterness and put on forgiveness. (Eph. 4:31-32).

Reading through the book The Excellent Wife Martha Peace gives examples of what bitterness sounds like. Some of the bitter thoughts are so bitter "Oh, I am so thankful I haven't said that," I said to myself in pride as I read. However I was humbled when I read the contrasting "forgiveness" thoughts because they are hard to say! Have I gone so far as to say the forgiving things? Am I willing?

Here is a short list of what she calls bitter thoughts and the contrasting tenderhearted, forgiving thoughts. I appreciated looking through the list to recognize where I have allowed bitterness to take hold.

Bitter Thoughts


Kind, Tenderhearted,
Forgiving Thoughts

He doesn't love me, he only loves himself


He does not show love as he should
but his capacity to love can grow

I do so much for him and
look what I get in return!

I wonder if I can do something
differently to make it easier for him.

I can't believe what he
decided. How ridiculous!


Maybe he has information I don't have.

I can't believe what
he has done to me!


What he has done is difficult but
God will give me the grace to get through it.

He'll never change.


By God's grace, he can change.

He should have known better.


How can he possibly know?
I've never told him. He can't
read my mind

(from The Excellent Wife, p. 94-95)

I wrote much of this post in the 24 hours before church today. And I was doing a little bit of editing in the hour before we needed to head out the door. I had the opportunity right then to actually practice replacing my bitter thought: "I can't believe he pulled tools out to get mmore of that project done. Why isn't he helping me get the kids ready and in the car! Can't he see how much I am struggling to manage all four of them? (Plus I am blogging about something that he should appreciate!) Can't he see we are going to be late again?!" with a tenderhearted thought: "I know that he only has a few hours today to get this project done and when Sunday is over, he has 12 hour days ahead of him all week long. He is feeling the pressure to finish up today so he can focus on work - and Little League- the rest of the week. When I stepped outside myself and thought of him rather than myself, I found that I was really grateful for how hard he was working to complete that project. Had I focused on my needs instead, I would have caused unnecessary conflict that morning (not to mention made it diffcult for the both of us to enjoy church because of the fight we would have most certainly had).

By replacing my bitter thoughts with tenderhearted, forgiving thoughts I blessed THE BOTH OF US. As cheesy as it may sound, by thinking not of myself, I suddenly found myself so grateful for Ryan, so blessed by him. Only the power of the Holy Spirit can do such a thing. If you struggle with bitter thoughts I encourage you to seek the Lord in prayer and ask Him to help you. Martha Peace suggests making a list of those bitter thoughts word-for-word and then writing next to each a new tenderhearted, forgiving thought that you can rehearse instead (she also suggests literally burning the bitter thoughts list so no other eyes fall upon it). When you make it a habit to replace the selfish, sinful thoughts with God-glorifying thoughts it will become increasingly easy to do.

Challenged? I am!!

Book Giveaway coming...!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Read-read-read-read-read to your kids!!

You just HAVE TO jump over to Randy's blog today. You will find an encouraging shove to read to each of your children.
Now is the time!
This is the day!!

For a great list of books (not just from me but from a bunch of people who commented) click here and then if you are local go here to reserve one or two at the library!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Sea of Stuffies and a Hoarder

I am a bit tired of picking up stuffed animals. One of my children has a real obsession with them. (Did you know boys could be like that? I didn't.) The animals seem to be having babies or something because they are multiplying.

To complicate this growing problem, that same child has recently entered a "please-please-please don't put it in the garbage" phase. Everything from scraps of paper to broken toys that are tossed in the trash is very disconcerting for him. A couple of nights ago he came out of his room (after being put to bed) with HUGE tears welling up in his sweet little eyes. What was the matter? He was very concerned about the tracing paper that his older brother had thrown away earlier that day. The paper was all drawn on and has served its purposes well and the artist himself had decided it was time to toss them. As far as I knew, my little hoarder never even knew the drawings existed until we went to throw it away. He came out of his room clutching the garbage can. I could see his panic rising.

Not that I want to always take to throwing everything away (that's wasteful), but it is nice to give things away, recycle, and, yes, toss. But to him, it is all the same: if it leaves the house to not return, it is painful. "Where is it going, Mom?" "Will it EVER come back?" "Where does the garbage truck take it?"

So with a child who can't part with trash, how am I to control the stuffed animal overpopulation and the mounting scraps of scribbled-on paper? Two words: NEGOTIATION (he is an incredible negotiator, BTW) and PERGATORY.

NEGOTIATION:
We lined up all his animals and I told him he could keep two of them and the rest would go "on vacation." (In our house, when a toy goes on vacation it is stored in a bin for a while and then later brought back out.) His eyes lit up knowing he would not lose anything. My little negotiator talked me into doubling the number of stuffed animals he could keep. Eh, I'm a pushover. Actually, I let him know that so long as he was able to manage all four and I was not always stepping over them or picking them up, four would be fine. (I have Diane Moore to thank for that idea.)

What my little sweetie does not know is that this vacation is really more of a PERGATORY. Today, while at his T-Ball game, I scoured the big boys' room. All the trinkets and junk and random collections and extra stuffed animals were sorted through. Much of it was placed in a big box that I marked PERGATORY. If either of my children say, "Mom, do you know where my ____ went?" I can say, "Hummmm, I will keep my eye out for it," and then pull the missed item out of the box a little later. But all THE OTHER not-so-missed items can stay put. At some point, I will trash/give away the contents of that box... when I am fairly certain it is safe to do so.

Honestly, I am "a tosser" and I would rather just send it to the curb right now but out of respect for my kids, I need to not just toss what might be precious to them. I will tread lightly (especially while my one child is in such a "keep it!!" phase) and recognize that while their things might not have value in my eyes, they are valuable in theirs. And that is enough reason to keep something around... for now.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Ouch!

I shared with you earlier that I have been reading a great book on marriage. I am reading it REALLY s.l.o.w.l.y. Wanna know what is hitting me most?

Here is what I read today:

" 'Allison's' deepest heart's desire is for her husband to make her feel a certain way. Her desires are not necessarily bad. The problem, however, is when they become more important to her than a pure devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ. Whenever a wife sets her heart on her husband behaving a certain way, she will likely end up disappointed, frustrated, and hurt. A primary clue to recognize that a heart's desire has become an idol (something more important to her than delighting in and serving God), is that the wife is willing to sin in order to attain that desire. Instead of setting her heart on her husband, Allison's deepest desires should be the same as those of the Psalmist in Psalm 119. He desired, sought after, and longed after God with all his heart." (The Excellent Wife, Martha Peace, p65)


Possible Idolatrous/Lustful Desires
1. That my husband will be affectionate.
2. That he will anticipate my needs without my asking.
3. That he will give me compliments.
4. That he will make me feel special.
5. That he will not hurt my feelings.
6. That he will talk to me and share his thoughts and feeings.
7. That he will put me first.
(The Excellent Wife, Martha Peace, p68-69)

So, I won't say outloud which number is the one I struggle with most, but just know that my struggle is listed above!

Right Desires
1. That I may know God's Word and obey it.
2. That I may delight in Him.
3. That I may seek Him with all my heart.
4. That I may be pleasing to Him regardless of my circumstances.
5. That I may cultivate an attitude of joy and gratitude in what God is doing in my life no matter what my husband does or does not do.
6. That I may have joy in God deciding how my life and circumstances can glorify Him the most, that He can use me for His glory.
(The Excellent Wife, Martha Peace, p69)

Martha lists six things that we wives can do to set our minds on things above. Come back later this week and I will have them for you!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Here's Your Coffee, Mommy!

Last week, my oldest son woke up early and, yup, made me a cup of coffee.

The next day, boy #2 was on the counter, looking for the coffee beans to grind. And for no other reason than they know how much I love my morning coffee. What a blessing these boys are to me.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

My Main Ministry: Ryan

I have been convicted lately to look carefully at how I am doing in terms of my marriage. I spend a TON of time thinking about how I can be a better mom but not nearly enough energy considering where I might improve my ministry to my husband.

I have a book on my bookshelf, The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace, that I read about 5 years ago. And I have known for a while that it is time to pick it up again and do a personal "check up." It is so interesting what stuck out at me five years ago verses what is sticking out this time. My initial read-through of this book gave me permission to follow and submit to Ryan, even when I thought I had a better (read: right) way to do things. I honestly thought that if I had a better idea than him, that it would be wrong to follow his lead... that I was supposed to "follow" my spiritual leader, so long as he was spiritually leading well. After reading the book 5 years ago, I learned that I needed to follow and submit to his leadership regardless of his ability to lead, and regardless of whether or not I had a better idea. This revolutionized my concept of submission in a really good way. I saw that it was not my responsibility to make sure we were doing the best thing. What freedom I found in letting that go!

In my current read-through of this great book, one sentence has really impacted me more than any other (so far):
God's will for every Christian wife is that her most important ministry be to her husband.
This is something I have known for a long time but it is sinking deep into my fibers this time. Am I running my hours, days, weeks, and months as though this is what I believe? What am I doing that communicates this truth? If I am doing something intentional to minister to Ryan, is it something Ryan actually values, or is it something I merely THINK he values?

I am convicted to answer these questions. I want Ryan to believe that he has no bigger advocate on earth than his wife; No more enthusiastic cheerleader than the woman he married.

Have you given this any thought? I know that for a long time I felt like I could not be the kind of godly wife I was supposed to be "because he...". I played a blame game, believing that my role was stifled when he did not fulfill his role. Martha's book reminds me that there is only one thing that keeps me from being a godly wife: my own sin. One sin I see I have committed over and over again is the presumption that God will help me even when I am neglecting His truth. Why would God answer my cry for help when I am using my tongue to cut Ryan down, or allowing my mind to dream what it would be like "if only..."

Martha's answer to this problem: Because God has so richly provided for a Christian wife in her battle against sin, she is without excuse. Her loving, merciful, and holy God has truly provided everything she needs to become a godly wife - to become the excellent wife that God wants her to be. And even when she falls short, she can be forgiven. 'If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness' (1 John 1:9).

I want my life and my relationship with my husband to glorify You, Jesus!