Wednesday, July 30, 2008

food stuff(s)

Lately I've been hearing a lot about food and the stuff in it. It's come from several different directions, and I feel like I've been hearing it for a long time and am finally starting to sit up and take notice. Preservatives, sweeteners, sugar, hormones, MSG... It seems that our nation's health is going haywire these days, what with diabetes and autism on the rise. I can't help but wonder if there's a connection.

So, I've been doing some thinking, and reading a lot. I'd like to make some changes to how my family eats. We're generally pretty healthy, or I thought we were. But now I'm seeing a lot of things that still need to be improved.

We're just getting started here. I'm not sure how it will fly, but at least I know my husband is excited about these potential changes. It's mostly the kids I'm wondering about!

I'll check back in with a report after we see how all this goes. The first of several baby steps today: served children "natural" peanut butter instead of my beloved JIF. And no complaints so far!

wishful thinking

Now, if only everybody's thighs could look this good with a little chub.
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Sunday, July 27, 2008

how my children see me

The boys were choosing which Sesame Street character they wanted to "be" at lunchtime one day, when this conversation took place:

Ben: Mom, you are Oscar the Grouch.

Me (hoping that doesn't imply what I think it does): I am who?

Ben: No, actually you can be the girl grouch who is on Sesame Street sometimes.

Me: Oh, well....

Kyle: No, mom, you are Cookie Monster!

Me: Cookie Monster? ....Okay, fair enough.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I can do this!

At long last I have decided to learn to cut my boys' hair, myself. For a long time I resisted, fearing I would leave them looking like newly shorn sheep. But I have grown weary of the hassle & expense of taking them elsewhere for haircuts, so this week I invested in a kit from the store. And today was the first attempt.

Kyle is such a prince about haircuts. He always has been. He sits there, as good as gold. No fidgeting, no complaining, for as long as it takes. Bearing this in mind, I began with him. And he was so patient! Benjamin did a good job too, but was very sensitive to the itch factor of it all. We'll figure out the finer points, I told him. This thing is trial and error right now.

So with Bob the Builder on TV to help, we set out. They really needed shaggy! It's amazing how much hair the cuts produced.

The result is not perfect, but for a first try I'm pretty satisfied. And we've already saved more than a trip to the kids' salon...even if it does have the allure of a train table.
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Sunday, July 20, 2008

eau de baby vomit

My sweet little baby smells so good
Til he starts the day with an urp
I snuggle him close up on my shoulder
Til I hear the dreaded burp.

Damage control, save the clothes!
I strive to direct the flow
But my own sweet dear little spitter
Shows I'm much too slow.

Each & every day it's a matter of course
That casualties will fall.
Onesie, t-shirt, Mama's shoes
The flood nails one and all.

The "rain falls on the just and the unjust,"
In our home that is so true.
But this particular brand of weather
When sniffed, produces an "Ew!"

Still, this dear precious boy
Is worth it all, with his dear sweet gummy grins
And when he laughs, I forget about
The milk curds on his chin.


Yeah, I know. They need haircuts. This week, for sure!
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Saturday, July 19, 2008

overheard at my house this week

1) The boys using Scotch tape to make "super trains."

2) "Ben, do you want to pway superhewo kitties family??"

3) Kyle edging away when asked to go the opposite direction: Mommy, my body is making me go this way....

4) "Hey, Kyle? Batman's cape is a little crick-ed." (meant to say "crooked")

5) Kyle: Mom, will you pway famiwy with me? Because I weawwy want someone to pway with me, and--

Ben: Kyle, I'll play with you.

Kyle (mildly surprised): Oh!! Gank you.

home from the farmers' market

This morning we all went to the farmer's market here in town. Jeff & I have been there a handful of times, but we don't go all that regularly. We had a great time, though, and found some good deals; I think we may have to do this more often! Though we don't always need to make it a family affair, I suppose...

We found some delectable berries (blueberry pancakes!), a gigantic head of lettuce, some cucumbers, and got an assortment of honey sticks, just for fun.

And then, in keeping with the theme of good health, we bought an elephant ear to share.

Ben & Kyle each got to pick out a balloon from the balloon artist's booth. Benjamin chose Spider-Man, and Kyle wanted Batman. They were playing "kid and dad" (don't ask me which was which) and having a lot of fun while Jeff waited in line for the elephant ear.

"Hey, dad, wanna go for a fly?"

"Sure, kid! Let's go!"

Yes, my children believe that Spider-Man flies. And you know, that's okay with me.
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Friday, July 18, 2008

let us pray

This coming Monday will mark two months since Maria Sue Chapman went to be in the arms of Jesus. The Chapman family has been so much on my heart since I heard the news. Jim Houser (SCC's manager) has been so faithful in sharing how the family is doing in his blog. I know that a lot of prayers have been lifted for them in the last two months.

Steven Curtis Chapman has started to step back into the public eye. He made his first stage appearance since Maria's death on July 11, and has prayerfully agreed to several interviews. I know the Chapman family will need continued prayer during this time. It seems impossible, but God has already used this tragedy for His glory...and I know He will continue to do so as this special family is open to being used for him.

This passage comes to my mind:
"7But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed." 2 Corinthians 4:7-119

During his first concert appearance since the loss of his 5-year-old daughter, Steven was very open with the audience. Yet he was amazing in his testimony. You can hear some of his words here. God is doing amazing things through this thing!

Let us pray on. And let us remember with joy that "we know this goodbye is not the end."

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

ahoy thar, me hearties!

Today we went to a pirate concert at the library. Captain Bogg & Salty did their annual show in our part of town, so we got all pirated up and headed out.

It was a good time. Ben sang along and participated with the rest of the crowd. It took Kyle a while to warm up and get excited to be there; he had a hard time waiting until the show was starting. ("Mooooooom, I'm kind of hungwy and thiwsty..." "Mooooooom, I'm tiiiiiiiwed..." "Mooooom, I wanna go hooooooome....") But when "Nellie the Elephant" came along, he came alive. If it involves jumping, Kyle is right there.

Thankfully it ended up going great. Owen was just the sweetest baby, he just sat on my lap the whole time. He did do a little boogeying himself, but it was of the on-lap variety. And he was the only one of our group to raise his hand when Captain Bogg asked if there was anyone out there who had never before attended one of their concerts.

The band rounded out their show with our family's personal favorite "There's a Pirate Party Shaking on the Ship." It was a rollicking & rolling good time!
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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

testing, testing, 1, 2, 3...

So evidently you've got to be careful about making big idealistic statements about cherishing every single moment. Because the moment you do, you're bound to be hit by a lot of testing of that ideal!

Kyle? Is a very loud kid. We first noticed this when he was not yet three months old, and it has not changed. When he's happy, he shouts with joy & excitement. When he's sad, he wails and keens. And when he's angry: screaming. Lots and lots of screaming.

Said screaming has lately been accompanied by slumping to the floor, putting his arms & head down, and generally becoming a puddle of 2-year-old unhappiness. And yes, I could say, "Feel free to scream outside" -- but that would torture the entire neighborhood. It would be easy to say "Feel free to scream in your room," but there's often a baby brother sleeping in the room next door, and who could sleep through that?

So it depends. I do love the happy times, though sometimes even that gleeful volume is hard to take. But those not-so-happy times? Those are the real test!

guess who's scooting?

Owen just started to scoot! I noticed it this morning. He'll pull his knees up under him and push with his toes (head and arms are generally down, he just has his tush in the air). It is so much fun!

I saw the most dramatic example of it when I put him down for a nap a little while ago. He did okay for a few minutes, but then I heard the telltale wail that said "Mama! I am VERY upset!" and when I ran in there he was working on scooting up the length of the mattress. Weeping & gnashing his teeth all the way, mind you. But in spite of that, he made a lot of progress.

Look out, world! He's getting mobile!

He's our big 4-month-old, and has been spending a lot of time on the floor these days, although his most common trick is to promptly roll onto his tummy and then spit-up a big puddle of milk. If I fail to notice it in a minute or two, he will lay his cheek down in it to rest his neck. Nice, eh? Then when he looks up again, the side of his face is covered with spit-up. Talk about charming!

Owen seems to be working on some teeth. Mercy, I hope it/they get(s) here soon. This is getting really old. Mama is even cranky about it!

He is so enamored with his big bros, especially (dare I say it?) Benjamin. That is likely due to the fact that Ben is the one most fond of doting on Owen. He loves to sit at his side and talk to him. And there is nothing Owen likes best than one-on-one attention, without a doubt.

Of course, he's also very fond of the fish on the shower curtain in the hall bathroom. But that's totally different...right?

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Saturday, July 12, 2008

brother love

It can be very enriching to listen in on my two older boys' (those are the ones who can use words!) conversations at times. I love it. Yes, they do fight on given days. And their arguements can get quite loud...sometimes I wonder what the neighbors must think! But they usually work it out, although I do occasionally make a ruling.

Still, when they're getting along, I'll hear things like "Ben, what is a swug?" (aka, slug; Kyle's Rs an Ls still sound like Ws). Or, indignant, "Ben!!! You just poked me with your ewbow!" Or even "Ben...awe you a gwown-up?" Kyle can certainly stand up for himself, but he knows that big brother Benjamin has a lot of experience that he doesn't have. After all, five-year-olds are pretty worldly-wise. Oh, excuse me. Five-and-a-half-year-olds.

And Benjamin does have wisdom to share. The other day I overheard him giving Owen a lesson on push-ups, the traditional kind as well as backwards push-ups. He was very serious and kept reassuring Owen that when he was older, he too would be able to do backwards push-ups. Owen is currently mastering the skill of pushing himself up on his hands to survey his world, so he's got some time on his hands.

I love to listen in on their childish, sweet, somewhat skewed conversations about life and the world around them. There are some real gems if you take the time to tune in.

Friday, July 11, 2008

these short years

Something I've been thinking a lot about lately is how fleeting this time as a young family is. Everyone always says "it goes so fast," and "just wait-- they grow up so fast." It's so easy to nod and say "I know, I know." And then dismiss it.

But when I take a step back and take a look at the big picture, at the span of our lives, and how few years our kids really will be at's a bit staggering. We will hopefully have many years to know our children as adults, but only a handful of time where they will be under our wing and in our home.

So I'm trying to cherish these days, cluttered though they are. Laden with trains and cars, finger paintings and Sunday school papers. Sticky with peanut butter, Popsicle juice and yogurt. I've decided I can live with smelling like spit-up on a daily basis, and having wet spots on my clothes from the morning on. I guess I can even live with our adult time in the evenings being interrupted over and over by a small person who just wants to "tew [us] somefing." Something like, he had a scary dream (last night I noted that this child had not yet been to sleep, and Jeff said: "Feel free to have a scary dream after you've gone to sleep.") Or he is scared of a lion. Or he has yet another owie.

In her book "Celebrate Home," Angie Peters writes: "We should embrace this time, hog it, enjoy it, use it, make the most of it, indulge in it like a chin-deep bubble bath that won't be so luxuriously hot or bubble-full forever." And she's right. Because from the moment our little ones are born, they, and us as parents, begin the process of growing apart.

So bring on the baby vomit, the teething, the crying jags. Bring on the wonder of experiencing life for the first time...all of those firsts. I'm going to relish watching my boys laugh at one another's silly jokes, love on their baby brother, explain to me with painstaking detail what happened in the story at Sunday school. And I'm going to remember that when they invite me to play, it's an honor. What a privilege to be invited into their world of wonder. Because one day soon...these days of sticky hugs and kisses will be over.

at the beach

In June we took a weekend trip to the beach. I cannot get over how much my two older boys love the beach! They had been asking for months and months, "When will we go to the beach again?" I kept putting them off, first because I was pregnant, and also because it was really cold.

But summer has finally arrived, though it is still cool at the coast. Jeff and I decided to make a family trip to celebrate our 11th wedding anniversary. We invited Jeff's parents to join us too, and it was a great time. A little cold and windy for actual beach time, though we did get a day or so of that in. The boys were just as happy with the hotel pool, however, so that was good!

It was a great weekend and I am so glad we went. Our family really loved having Jeff's parents with us, too. Ben & Kyle love hanging out with them, as do we. And Jeff & I even got away for a dinner out by ourselves.
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pool time

This was one of Owen's first times in the pool. It was a little cool for his liking (not surprising considering how warm he prefers his baths) but he adjusted enough to try it for a few minutes. Kyle was trying to help by moving water onto Owen's tummy to "help keep him warm." Not so much...thanks anyway, kiddo!
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a little about our family

I am blessed to be a mommy to three wonderful boys. Benjamin is 5.5 years old, Kyle is 2.5 years old, and Owen is 4 months. I'm having a lot of fun watching them grow and interact with each other. It's not quite so much fun when the argue and fuss, but that can be productive too...

Ben is fairly reserved, at least out in public. In that way he reminds me quite a bit of myself~ I am quite shy. He loves to help me cook, but hates to put away toys. He also enjoys planning his birthday parties, 11 months in advance. One of his favorite destinations is the beach on the Oregon coast, where he surprised us by jumping around in the ocean water. He's got a sweet spirit, and seems to respond most to verbal affirmations.

Kyle is Mr. Personality. He is quick to laugh (and has a great laugh!), and does everything he finds to do with all his might. When upset, he cries with gusto. When happy, he is a bundle of energy and dimply smiles. He is currently obsessed with Bob the Builder, and will often burst into song, entertaining us with the theme song. He believes that Owen cries because he doesn't know where Kyle is, and so his way of helping his baby brother is to say "Here I am, Owen, here I am!" He is a lot of fun and ALL boy. Surprisingly enough, he was very upset by the ocean water on our last beach trip and much prefered to keep his feed on dry land. He is our passionate one, and really enjoys cuddles.

Owen is 4 months old. Thus far he seems to have a very sweet and mellow temperament-- unless he gets past a certain point of being tired, at which point he wails as if his heart is broken. He is selective with his smiles, but he loves to grin at his brothers. When he smiles it's slow-blooming, but the result is heart-melting. Currently he enjoys kicking his feet, spitting up, and eating...though not necessarily in that order.

My darling husband Jeff & I have been married for 11 years. We met when I was 13 and he was 16. It's hard to believe we've known each other so long. I remember him when he was a gangly beanpole of a teenager. We dated in high school and went to Jeff's senior prom together. We did break up for a few years, but it's fun to have those memories and that history together. I have to laugh out loud when I read my diary entries from when I dated him as a 15- and 16-year-old!

Our family has been so blessed. Everything we have has come from the Lord. We can never thank him enough!

alright, got me.

For ages people have been saying "You don't have a blog?" "You should definitely start a blog!" and so on. And everyone and their great uncle seems to have one. For some unknown reason, I have thus far resisted. Maybe it was pride? Not wanting to "run with the herd?"

But I finally got the itch to do it.
Possibly I'm just getting lazy and want to be able to share anecdotes, etc. with lots of people at once. Or maybe just to have a place to run at the "mouth"...

So here goes. My first blog, first entry. I'm not making any promises, here. Let us consider this an experiment!