Sunday, September 29, 2013

Goodbye Summer

This summer we discovered some new (to us) and wonderful places to visit. 
Paisley adores Aaron. He is pretty sweet with her too! 
 One of the best is The River. We have been coming to The River since June and have really enjoyed watching how The River changes from visit to visit. It is similar to our beach but different in many ways. The best difference is that it is fresh water, which means that showers are not essential when you return home. It is a rocky beach which means that most of our swim stuff is no longer covered in sand. Win Win in my book!
Ruby and Honor discover more sticks.
 Although the water is cold the children enjoyed floating and really excelled at becoming more confident in the water this summer. Life Jackets were mandatory for the 7 and under crowd. Aaron and Erik loved crawdad fishing and finding many of the river dwelling species.
On our last visit of the season there were hundreds of dead salmon. After talking to some local fisherman we learned that they were spawning. The children lined them up on the riverbank but soon grew tired of that. We identified differences between the different species and even found some salmon eggs. They squished some open and felt them and inspected them.
Some game where Ian "The Protector of the Littles" was defending against Aaron.
It might have been an even match. 
 The only downfall is the constant hunger. Between Jess and I we have 11 kids at home and they all need to eat about 47 times a day. We have finally learned to fill the cooler and place it a fair distance away so everyone can help themselves without asking every 2.4 seconds, "What else can I eat?"
I truly love the life my children are experiencing. 
 I also love the creativity and space at The River. It allows the children a little more freedom without me constantly hovering over them. They are safe to explore and build forts, rock houses, sand (on the far beach) or simply float. All the while they are within sight of me.
Because every 7 year old girl plays with dead fish. 
Still being in the early stages of pregnancy and still feeling quite sick the potty situation was less than ideal. Especially after helping Libby go, I proceeded to puke all over her went. I also had to keep a fair distance from my children that were eating tuna salad.
Otherwise it was ideal to bring my chair down to The River's Edge and soak my feet in the cool water and get up every 45 minutes to dunk under the refreshing water and cool off. Oh how I long to have to cool off again.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Fashion Show and 4,000 miles

This summer I was cleaning out a certain closet upstairs. A closet that everyone seems to open the door, throw something in and quickly close it. A catchall full of useless detritus. 
 I found a whole stack of Sean's old rowing paraphernalia. I was complaining about all the stuff and made the flippant remark that Sean couldn't even get into any of the clothes anymore, why oh why must we store it?
 What ensued was laughter and a spontaneous modeling show starring Sean!
Alas, he fit into every single thing in there, with room to spare! Mind you, not that any of the Olympic uniforms will ever be seen in public, but they could.
 We also found his WWU Letterman's sweater. It was a fun walk down memory lane, with lots of stories the kids and I had never heard before.

As of this week, Sean has ridden over 4,000 miles on his bike since last September. He began riding his bike as a means to save some gas money. However, he really enjoyed the challenge and the fitness. I confess, I was a bit disappointed that he was seeing such great weight loss and fitness when it seemed like I was really trying and he wasn't doing anything but riding his bike to and from work. 
As a runner, I always looked at bike riders as sort of 'weak' I mean really, how hard is it to get on a bike and pedal. That is until I began riding with Sean. Ignorance is bliss. No wonder he is in such amazing shape. He rides a single speed fixed gear bike. That means that he must always pedal (no coasting, even downhill) and he can't ever shift. Sometimes, he rides uphill with just one foot. I tried that once just to see how hard it was. I have regular pedals and wear my running shoes, Sean has clips on his bike shoes and is attached to his pedal. I felt like an idiot. 
I am not sure how he logged 4,000 miles in 12 months including the few months that he took off due to freezing rain, snow, ice and pitch black. I have a whole new respect for bikers, especially single speed bikers that I happen to be married to. Thank you so much Honey, for your sacrifices, commitment, and example of steadfast determination. I admire you. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

And So It Begins...

This week marks the beginning of a new homeschooling year. Yesterday we began a new program called, Classical Conversations. The children go once a week for tutoring and the rest of the learning and teaching happens at home. 
I new we needed something different after all the struggles last year and this seems like an answer to prayer. I always say, "Be careful what you pray for." 
I know this is going to be difficult. I have more accountability, the children have more accountability and there is much more writing that we have ever done before. Not to mention, the Latin! I plan on learning a lot and covet prayers for my patience and grace as we go through these growing pains. 
I also began my twice daily Lovenox shots this week. This is a medication that I must take when I am pregnant to help prevent blood clots. For some reason it was emotional for me to start. Not because it hurts, it does not feel good but I have felt much worse, but I think because it means that birth is that much closer. I struggle with anxiety surrounding the actual birth much more these past couple of pregnancies. After I finally worked out the dosage with the doctor ( I had to hang up on him once because I had a child with a minor head wound that was bleeding profusely) I felt like I could breathe easier.

We started cutting our logging truck loads of wood this week. We got 5 cords or dry moved and ready for use and over half the load bucked, split and some stacked. I had some very hungry, sore and tired people on my hands. I feel a sense of security about knowing that I will be warm this winter. I almost am looking forward to cozy fires and reading books ~ Almost. I am not quite ready to say good bye to the warm sunshine. 
Sean and I have ridden the past couple mornings in the fog. I have to say it is not a beginning that eagerly anticipate. It sure was nice this morning when the sun (behind all the clouds) came over the horizon and lit up the sky.

My garden is in full bounty and begging me to can. I managed 21 pints of blackberry jam, 7 pints of balsamic fig jam, a dozen pints of rhubarb jam. Up next: green beans, corn, and peas.
Last week we managed  hike a Baker, a trip up to Canada, dentist appointments for all the children, a potluck and orientation for Classical Conversations, a fabulous party with some wonderful homeschooling friends and a Doula Client meeting.
Maybe I am ready for fall and life to slow down a little. 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Fair Announcement

All my children were together on Friday. We have all been here all week, but with the busyness of everything we were hardly ever in the same place at the same time. 
 My momm and my mother in law were helping with food, laundry, driving, cleaning, and watching the littles. So when we were at the fair, we weren't necessarily all together. Add to that, Sean went on a Tuna Fishing Charter so he wasn't even there for 2 1/2 days.
 I had a great idea to get all my children with their Grandmas.  Just to keep it straight I gave them all birth order numbers. My momm said, "Wait, You and Sean need to get in here with your children."
 I said, "OK, but wait! I need to add another number if I'm in the picture."
Maybe not the best way to announce the arrival of baby #8, but I did not know who to tell when. Because when you tell the children it goes viral.
 2 minutes after we told the children and grandmas some fellow 4H moms came out and congratulated us! I asked how they knew so quickly and they said that their son was watching and texted them!
 When someone asked Ian if he knew why I was holding #8 He said, "Yes, It's because Mama is younger than me!"
 Taylor's excitement was so fun! I think everyone else was in shock! Aaron was grinning ear to ear and told EVERY.SINGLE.PERSON he knew. It went something like this:
Aaron skipping up to Jake, "My mom is having a baby!" Turn and leave to go tell the next person.
 We are thrilled, I fell so blessed to have the privilege of being pregnant again.
God is so good.

Monday, August 12, 2013

North West Washington Fair Day 1

Our first day at the fair proved to be a success! We started with Poultry Vet checks, since I got the time wrong and they wouldn't accept the birds yesterday. 
We headed out this morning with what was supposed to be 12 birds in the BRV (Big Red Van). I looked around and did a mental check as we were leaving the driveway and asked Erik where his show chicken was. 
Aaron's livestock Check In
He got extremely frustrated with me as I had already sent him back inside for his Country Partners T shirt, then again for his water bottle. He replied, "Do I have to get everything?" Yep Buddy, you need a show bird in order to show a bird.
Erik's Livestock Check In
 We made it, passed vet check did weigh in and headed to the Dairy Barn. The boys were doing Start to Finish, where they take a calf that has never been worked with before and do everything working as a team and show the calf at the end. They get judged on how well they work together and how well their calf does.
Half way through I got about 6 calls and texts saying that they were calling for my boys to show poultry. I had talked to the judges and ran over to make sure it was still going to work. Thankfully we worked it out and they gave me a 15 minute warning. I went and got the boys and somehow Erik got Clear Kote on his arm, which was burning and itching, so we found WD40, and nail polish remover and got it off, changed, headed over to poultry. Did fit and show, got 2nd place and ran back to finish Start to Finish where they got 3rd overall.
Ian loved these tires!
During lunch, Ruby opened her container and spilled the entire contents all over the ground. Of course, it was major drama with lots of tears but we managed.
Geaba helped us locate some of our projects that we entered, we can't wait to find the rest. We brought the girls home and bathed them, read to them and put them in bed. Sean and Grandma stayed at the fair with the boys and Taylor so they could finish their barn duty.
My prize winning beans
I was pleasantly surprised that most of my entries won first premium, with the exception of my zucchini muffins that got 3rd. But I couldn't find my green beans. I looked everywhere and finally found them in the Best of Fair Display cabinet. Yep, I feel sorta like Almonzo Wilder and his prize winning pumpkin. My beans. I grew them, picked them, snapped them, then canned them.
I love this boy
Aaron is so easy going. He has the most tender heart and a love for small children. He is compassionate, funny, and pretty laid back. He is much like a large puppy who doesn't know how much space he takes up  but since he is so kind, you don't really mind that he is taking up so much space. Just keep him fed. This was his outfit for the day, with the exception of showing, and he liked it.
I like the life my children are living.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

"Big Hill"

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am really a big picture kinda girl. I love to go do things and often plan without a whole lot of though behind the details. 
Calvin, Ian, Erik, Aaron, Ruby
It was a gorgeous day, and I really wanted to go for a hike, but did not want to drive too far. I looked up some local hikes and found one not too far away. It was called Big Hill. In my mind 'Big Hill' means that a hill, not a mountain. It was also rated 4 star. To me, 4 star is a fabulous hotel. Something beautiful and to be desired. Apparently the star rating for hiking is a bit different than for hotels. A 4 star hike means DIFFICULTY. 

Erik eating sardines and pickles for lunch
 I guess that is common knowledge among hikers, I just missed that memo.
 I invited a friend with 4 children to go with me, on the hottest day of the year, to Big Hill and off we went. I was even more thankful for our Ergo as the hike proved to be too strenuous for Liberty. Ruby was able to hitch a ride on some of the boys some of the time.
Some of my girls
 Taylor really is a get her done kind of girl and doesn't waste time getting there. Her and a couple of the older children said they would wait 'up ahead'.
Ian was constantly looking for photo opportunities. and is the "protector of the littles". It's pretty funny to hike with children. I just keep plodding along where they run ahead, stop, wait, lag behind, climb a rock, climb a tree, slide down a hill, and run ahead.

Aaron, Ian, and Calvin
 Going straight up hill with a 30+ pound girl on your back does make your calves shake and burn, in case you wondered. We kept going up and up and up. Finally all the food we brought was gone, all the water was gone, all the little kid energy was gone, and the big kids were gone.
I waited in this small patch of shade while my friend went up ahead to find the older children. We waited a long time, a very, very long time.
Liberty and Ruby in the only shade we could find. 

I don't think we will have that problem again. We discovered that it was a 5 mile round trip hike with a 2,500 foot elevation gain. That's 1,000 feet per mile! On our way home we crossed a bridge and spotted a perfect swimming hole. I quickly pulled over and we all jumped in! Incredibly cold but refreshing. We missed the Personal Fitness meeting for Scouts, however, I think we got it covered. 
Shockingly, the children all begged to do it again! When clarified, I realized it was the swimming part that they wanted, thankfully, not the hiking part. 
We have returned to our swimming hole many times this summer. Now it's one of my favorite happy places.  

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Time To Make A Little Noise

The blog has been super quiet for 3 months! I know because I was reminded by a friend. It's not that nothing is happening, it's that I don't even know where to start when I get so behind. My goal is to make a little more noise here, so at least I know what we have been doing. 
Erik leading our 4H club in the Lynden Parade
 We are in full swing Fair Mode. This is the last week to get things turned in prior to the fair, the last week to get the animals ready, have them make weight, clean clip and groom them. We have to get the labels made for all our still life exhibits, and finish up the last minute decorations.
One girl in our rabbit division just found out she is deathly allergic to rabbits. Her mom was in charge of the rabbit barn decorations. Now, I am in charge of the rabbit barn decorations! What?! You never noticed decorations in the barns!? That's OK, I hadn't either.
Next time you wander through the animal barns at the fair, take a look. A lot of time, effort and creativity goes into those decorations.
Liberty, Ruby and Willie (formerly known as Lilly)
 We feel like 4H provides our children with some wonderful opportunities and life lessons. We recently participated in one of the local parades and brought several of our animals to be on the float or walk alongside the float.
Taylor had to be there early to decorate and I really did not want to spend more time than I had to, so I agreed to bring her lamb to the parade. I mean, How hard can it be? She gave me his halter and a Rubbermaid tote to put him in in the BRV. In theory this should work. I put him in the tote along with 5 of my other children and he promptly stood up and cleared the tote completely when he pooped all over the van. When we arrived in Lynden the closest place we could find to park was 6 blocks from the float. What Taylor forgot to tell me was that David, her lamb, had never walked with a halter before. He just follows her around. Think Mary and her little lamb. He doesn't follow me. We had 2 rabbits  a lamb, 5 children and 6 blocks. I proceeded to pick him up, which many people walking by thought was "so cute"! He looks little but must weigh at least 75 pounds. Then he pooped on me. I had to cross 4 streets keeping track of my children, not dropping the lamb, and trying to keep Liberty from grabbing the part of my skirt with lamb poop on it. I wasn't having fun yet. I also drove by what looked to be a promising garage sale but opted not to stop because I didn't think we would have time.
Princess' mug shot for her Dairy Certification
When we finally arrived my arms were shaking and I was really looking forward to putting the kids on the float and going to watch the parade with my friends. Our 4H leader had a different idea. I was supposed to ride on the float to keep my kids safe. *sigh* put on a happy face and wave. I can do that. It was discovered that the tractor pulling our float wouldn't start, so they jump started it and could not turn it off for fear it would die again. I had the joy of sitting for 45 minutes waiting for our turn in the parade, breathing tractor exhaust, with lamb poop on me and children eating way too many lollipops (I think they were supposed to throw them).
When my mom commented that I must really like parades,  I could only laugh and say that I do it for my children.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Biking Galbraith Mountain

Just after the first bike repair
 Our Boy Scout Troop planned to go Mountain Biking and I thought that it sounded like fun! That, and Sean's bike is a road bike so he couldn't go, and we have one certain boy that needs parental  supervision especially on an activity that involves risk.
Good Samaritan, fixing Erik's bike
 A very good choice. Erik wanted to go with the experienced older boys that were going on a much more difficult trail and I refused to let him go. About 20 minutes into our mountain biking adventure Erik's derailleur broke on his bike. We were not exactly sure what to do with a broken bike, 6 boys, and no tools at the top of a mountain (I don't think the 10 essentials include a wrench). When all of a sudden a lone mountain biker came along and improvised one of his tools to fix Erik's bike. Erik profusely thanked him (which was a nice change of pace from his previous bad attitude about going on the 'easy' ride). I breathed a prayer of thanks for God's continued provision and faithfulness in providing for all things.
Nathan at the top of the mountain
 One of the boys had not ridden very much and his bike weighed about 97.6 pounds. I ended up pushing his bike up the hills then running back down to get my bike. I'm not sure how high Galbraith Mountain is, but at times it felt like Mt. Everest. When the time arrived to go down, it was! The boy with the 97.6 pound bike did not use his pedals, AT All!  He used Fred Flintstone techniques to slow down and stop. I brought up the rear and had to really watch to make sure that I wasn't going to plow right over the top of this poor, very sore boy.
Erik's derailleur kept falling off. If you have ever heard the Bible verse, "a fool gives full vent to his anger" That Proverb was clearly illustrated on the mountain. Surprisingly, I just sat back and watched. I did nothing. He figured it out. The absolute worst part of the whole thing was when Erik and another boy stood at the edge of a cliff on a rock with a shear face. I freaked out appropriately, then we were all back on track.
Bellingham Bay in the rear, just before sunset. 
I had another moment of panic when I realized it was getting dark, I couldn't see very well, had no idea how much farther we had to go, my phone was almost dead, we were all covered in mud and I had an overdue client. 
One of the boys, from up ahead yelled for me to,"Step on it, Mrs. Carolynn!" I heard them hooting and hollering as we went down, so I stepped on it! Right around the corner was a 90 degree turn with a mud pit at the bottom and a wall of mud on the other side. I opted to go up and over the wall of mud and stop myself gracefully with a beautiful 40 foot cedar tree. 
We were much later returning than what was expected and I did get a call from a worried Scout Leader I assured him that we were having a wonderful time, but I had absolutely not a clue where I was. After running 5 miles with a friend in the afternoon, running another 1 1/2 miles with the scouts for their Personal Fitness Merit Badge, and then pushing the 97.6 pound bike up a mountain, running back down the mountain to get mine, and back up again I was overjoyed when we finally got out of the woods (literally) and headed down the pipeline to our meeting place! 
The boys loaded our bikes (Alleluia! I have arrived!) enjoyed some s'mores around the campfire, headed home, showered, and hit the sack at 11:30! 
When can we go again?

Thursday, May 23, 2013

I've Been Had

 I usually have some Tic Tac's in my purse for children after church on Sundays. My children love them! 

Buttercups straight from the Cow Path
Liberty has been asking me every time we go into a store if she can buy a package of Tic Tacs. I always say that she has to buy them herself, but since she only has about 8 cents at any given time she sadly never has enough money. Recently she was down to only1 cent. I think she gets all her money from the ground and probably leaves about the same amount in various random places.
She came in the other day with a big bouquet of Buttercups. She said, "Mama! Look what I have for you! Can you please get a vase to put them in?"
Of course, I expressed all the appropriate enthusiasm for my Buttercup Bouquet and took out a beautiful leaded glass vase. Then, Liberty tells me, "You have to buy them for 49 cents, because I need 49 cents to buy a pack of Tick Tacs."
I bought the flowers. You have to admire her creativity.  

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Pretty Pedi's and Birthday Traditions

Beginning at my foot, clockwise: Me, Syndi, Jess, Momm, Grammy Mary, Gail, April and Tammy
Now, let's just see how well you know me. Which foot is mine?
My friend Tammy is exactly 10 years and 1 day younger than I am. Can I say that is exactly? I mean if it was 10 years, or 4 years, or even 1 month, but is 10 years and 1 day exact?
Two years ago, we went out for pedicures and Thai food, Two of my favorite things! Since we have done it twice we decided that we had started a tradition and traditions must be followed! This year Jess, Tammy and I all brought our moms, maybe that is a new tradition. But if it's new, is it still a tradition?  Or is it then a new tradition?
We got our pedicures first, then went to Busara, one of my favorite Thai restaurants and closed the place down. In fact, we stayed way past closing. I am really surprised that they did not kick us out. I guess they didn't want to mess with the ladies who had the gun case on the table. I love the dichotomy of my interests and how well my friends listen and pay attention to what is important. I got a flour sack tea towel (I mentioned recently how much I loved them) and a new case for my gun! I also got dinner and some fabulous soap and bath teas. It's really difficult to hoard my soap when I share a shower with 4 other people, not at the same time though.  I suppose that is another lesson God is teaching me in being selfless. However, If I could, I would hide the soap. Since I can't, I will learn to share with a happy heart.
I am shameless. I took not only my leftovers, but Tammy and my momm's as well. Right on par with Jess, who wanted to taste April's Thai Iced Tea, then kept it and had her order another one. It made perfect sense to me, and it was a good thing because the waitress forgot to make April's with Coconut Milk instead of half and half. I really wanted to hide 'my' leftovers and have them for lunch the next day. Instead, I did the right thing by giving Sean the small box of Pad Thai and keeping the Orange Beef all for myself. No, just kidding, I didn't, but I wanted to. I gave Sean all the leftovers, again learning that by serving others with a happy heart I will learn to be happier.
As C.S. Lewis said, "Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art... It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival."
My life is more valuable because of the friends I share it with.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Momm's Birthday Celebration

About 7 years ago we started a tradition of honoring my momm with a Celebration of her, at her Birthday. It is such a precious tradition, a highlight of my year. 
my beautiful mother, at a beautiful table
 I love the women that she chose as being influential and important in her life. I have been greatly blessed by these women.
Kelly, is the hostess for these events. Kelly can take simple everyday items and make the decorations spectacular! Every year I look forward to seeing how she will decorate. This year she joked that she did not know what she looked like all week because her bedroom mirror was part of the table decorations. Of course, she looked as fantastic as ever! Kelly is the kind of friend who can graciously tell you the most difficult things and you will thank her for it. She is very humble and will gladly sacrifice sleep to stay up half the night talking.
The table was like a feast for your eyes!
 Brianna, is a wealth of knowledge anything health related and is someone I strive to be like in providing for my family from the work of my hands.
Lisa is the most gentle prayer warrior. She diligently seeks to win her children's hearts and intentionally trains them in Biblical Principals.
Celinda, is always good for a story! She knows how to have fun. She has also walked with my mom through some of the most difficult seasons. She can knit, shoot a gun, and whip up a feast for half of Texas.
Rachel is an amazing example of beautiful things that are made under pressure. She is always waiting with a hug and a smile. She has had some tremendous difficulties but still puts her trust in God and because of that hope, she knows she doesn't need to worry. She is beautiful.
Terri is one of my momm's friends that I don't know very well. When we all stop talking long enough to listen she is a hoot! She recently told me a story about putting a cow in her VW Bug! Terri is a dancer and takes very good care of her health. She does not like chocolate or coffee. I usually bring dessert and it almost always has chocolate or coffee in it. This year, I decided to make something that Terri would like, so I made a 4 Layer Coconut Cake. Sadly, Terri does not like coconut either! I discovered that she loves peanut butter so next year will be something Peanut Butter!
Coconut Cake
 Of course, my momm. How do you narrow down something wonderful to say about your momm in one or two sentences? She is amazingly generous and encouraging. She supports me and my family and has super fun activities to do with the children. She loves to play! I don't really know how to play, I have to ask my children what I am supposed to do. I like to build Lego, play a game, or set up Playmobil with them, but not play. My momm knows how to play! I will often find her in the middle of a tea party, playing babies with the girls, fixing up the play house or even playing Lego by herself!
The inside scoop
 I looked all over for a Coconut Cake recipe that looked delicious. I couldn't find one that I liked, so I adapted several different ones. Here it is if you want to try it, you really should, it was good!
3/4 pound butter
2 cups sugar
5 extra large eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp coconut extract
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 cup coconut milk
4 oz shredded coconut
1 lb cream cheese
1/2 pound butter
3/4 tsp vanilla
3/4 tsp almond extract
1 pound powdered sugar
toasted shredded coconut
It's the details that make the difference. 
Directions: preheat oven to 350, grease and flour  4 8 in pans.  Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, add eggs one at a time, add vanilla and coconut extracts, mix well.
In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, soda and baking powder, and salt. add dry mixture alternately with the coconut milk. mix until just combined. Fold in the toasted coconut.
Pour batter evenly in the bans and bake until the cakes are browned and a tester comes out clean. Cool completely on a rack. Frost the cake beginning with the bottom layer and finishing with the top and sides then gently press (Or throw hard, like I did) the toasted coconut on the to and sides.

I pray that you are are as blessed as I am to enjoy delicious food, and friendships that build up, encourage, and strengthen one another. I know this is a precious gift and for that, I am so very thankful.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Mother's Day

Mother's Day is always one of those days I don't really look forward to. It is full of unmet expectations. I try so hard to not have the expectations. It's not that I don't know they love me, or that I need some silly card to tell me. It's just that when everyone else seems to be having these high class meals, fancy gifts, and store bought cards. They are loved and cherished, I can't help it I compare.
Ian's Mother's Day card that we made at Cub Scouts
I try not to, but I do. I even start to think that I want those things. Sean scared me by saying that we should all go out for a nice Brunch in honor of Mother's Day. I was scared because I would not actually want to pay for that. It would literally eat up our entire weeks grocery budget. I heard Ruby asking Sean to take her to the store to buy some flowers for me and I whispered to him to go help her cut me some lilacs off of our tree. I love the smell of lilacs and even more like that they don't cost anything!

On Saturday evening I started to make our traditional Overnight Skiier's Toast for Sunday morning breakfast, boiling eggs for egg salad sandwiches and got out the stuff to marinate my favorite dinner, Broccoli Beef. Sean told me not to, that Sunday was Mother's Day, and I shouldn't have to cook. These were my thoughts exactly, however, I was taking care of it on Saturday so that I would have Sunday off.
On Sunday Sean came down with an awful headache and had some things he need to take care of 45 minutes away. I wanted to have a pity party, unmet expectations. Instead, I tried to focus on how many things I have to be thankful for. How blessed I am to be a mother and get to stay home and raise these children hopefully, to God's glory. I did have a brief episode of sulkiness, but managed to 'Take every thought captive".
Beautiful Flowers Mikaela had delivered to me! 
You see I have learned not to expect. When I do, it comes back to the fact that I want things my way, I want to be recognized. I want people to tell me how great I am, How good of a cook I am, What a wonderful homeschooling mom I am, That I am a good wife, you name it, just focus on me.
Yes, I know, that is not the way it was ever meant to be, or should be. It's just nice to think it might happen sometime. Yet, really I am glad to be able to see more clearly that every aspect of my life should point to my savior.
It really comes back to the sin of pride. My husband is a wonderful man, he is a great provider, patient parent, and diligent worker. However, he is not a man of words. I find it hilarious that there is a stack of Mother's Day cards in his nightstand that he must have purchased at least 4 years ago, and I have yet to receive one of them!
Liberty's Card she made with Ian's help
 At scouts, I came up with a cool pop up card project for the boys to make for their mothers. I painstakingly cut out all the pieces and helped the boys make and address their cards. Then, mailed the cards. Ian was so excited for me to get his card. When it came in the mail he told me I had to wait until Mother's Day to open it! I opened it with much fanfare and told him how much I loved it! He wrote sweet nothings to me. It was really very sweet. I gave him a great big hug and kiss and said to him, that his was the only card I got. At first, he seemed genuinely pleased. Then I noticed the wheels turning and he gathered his little sisters got paper, pens, and scissors. They disappeared into the living room and came back later with these cards.
This, this is what motherhood is all about.  For my youngest son to take the initiative and lead his sisters in this token of love appreciation because he knew how much joy it would bring his mama touched me deeply.
Ruby's card
On Monday, Mikaela had a beautiful bouquet of Daisies and Roses delivered, They came in the prettiest pink vase.  I know how busy she is, and how hard she works for her money. Her sacrificial gift let me know that I matter to her.
Although Mother's Day did not go the way I would have planned, I'm glad it didn't. And I'm glad that I am glad.

Monday, May 13, 2013


My mother in law and sister in law came up to visit with my little nephew, Loden. 
 The bonus was that they got to see Mikaela while she was here! I love having company, especially family. I love how the children jump right in where they left off last time they saw each other. Ian is so tender toward Loden. He is helpful, kind and does a fabulous job making sure that he is happy.
 Ruby and Liberty are thrilled to have another boy in their dress up games. Loden found my Warrior Dash viking helmet. The best was that he wore the helmet with one horn coming out the front and the other straight out back! He has the sweetest little voice and so excited to play with his cousins.
 We all went out to the woods and Ian took the little ones out for a ride in the row boat. It was a fabulous day. You know one of those days when every time you turn around you realize how blessed you are. Walking across the hay field with Mt. Baker in all her glory, Having a 'real' conversation with my Mother in Law, Laughing with my Sister in Law, Planning with my Momm, Children playing creatively, obediently, and joyfully. Dinner in the Crockpot, Laundry done, and a clean house!
It's easy to count your blessings when things are blissful. I am trying to be intentional when life doesn't go my way, to be thankful for the process of refining me to a more joyful child of God.