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.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Open House

I'm sitting here at my dining room table looking longingly at the beautiful sunshine outside. The weeding is calling my name, I want to finish planting the garden, move the chicken fence, do some meal planning and teach my 4 year old to ride her bike without training wheels (she has been begging for weeks!)
I found Liberty at the table sound asleep

Instead, I can literally watch the hummingbird feeder being emptied by all the beautiful birds visiting it while I struggle to teach my children their math facts. I wonder why watching the birds eat is so amazing yet, feeding, teaching and tending to my own children can feel like such a burden. Planning, shopping, preparing, and cleaning up from the meals sometimes makes me weary.
Sometimes the girls take so long eating that they are left alone at the table to finish.
Everyone else was outside and Liberty took advantage of the quiet.
I love to be outside enjoying the beauty of God's creation. I know that I have the amazing responsibility and privilege of teaching my children. I know that the choices Sean and I have made regarding the education and character training are the right ones. I know that God has promised to equip me, He has given me scripture to help me with the choices we face. I have been diligently praying that we would do all of our work for God's glory.
Remembering that I set the tone for my family. Knowing that if I expect my children to show compassion I must model that. Being reminded on a daily basis that the sin I see in their lives is really a reflection of the sin I struggle with most in my life. My selfish nature, my desire for things to go my way, my inability to stay on task or ease of being distracted are the things that make anger rare it's ugly head when I see them in my children.
I see so much struggle and hardship in relation to not submitting to God's will. Please join me in praying for us, as mothers, to stay strong, keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, stay the course and set a beautiful melodious tone for our families.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Park Day

I have really been struggling with school this year. Partly because I have some children that look like they are doing their work, but when I go to check, they actually completed nothing, or they did a very sloppy job. 
It is difficult to keep my attitude in check when I tend to take it personally if they don't like their work, or do it well.  
This is something I have been praying about, looking for better solutions, and trying to expect that I will have to make corrections.
Liberty and Branson
Yesterday, promised to be a beautiful day. My children love to go to Lynden City Park. I told them that if they got all their work done, we would pack lunch and go to the park. The morning was a struggle : bad attitudes, sloppy work, and painstakingly slow progress, but somehow we managed to leave the house.
I posted on Facebook that we were going and would love for friends to join us. It turned into an amazing afternoon. I ran into 5 past clients and was given wonderful hugs! 2 current clients were there, as well as 2 women who have taken childbirth classes from me! There were other wonderful homeschooling mamas there as well. My children all played nicely and had happy hearts. Liberty was in heaven with all the babies that needed to be taken care of. The funny part was that she loved to pick them up, but I think most of them out weighed her by at least 10 pounds!
We left when all the school children started showing up, and returned home for chores, and homemade pizza. Then Sean and I sat at the table for a whole hour catching up. That was my favorite part. It seems like in the busyness of life we rarely make the time to really talk.
The fresh air, sunshine, friendship and communication did wonders for my perspective on how truly blessed I am.