Friday, October 31, 2008


UPDATE: I may have been a smidge premature in pronouncing Kyle much better in regard to fear. Sadly, the monster problem has reared it's ugly head again yesterday (Saturday) & today. At least it's not spy mosquitoes. But still, ugh. Pray for us! We need discernment on the balance of compassion & being wise to knowing when we're being "played." Poor guy. And poor us!


Here is a picture of the boys at the Teddy Bear Parade last September. They got pretty weary of walking, but at the beginning they were happy and cute!


Incidentally, Kyle's fear issues are much more manageable these days. He can still get a little spooked, but it hasn't been a real problem in days. Plus, he's been taking super naps, which always helps...everything. I could not be happier that my three-year-old is still napping most of the time! His big brother stopped much earlier...


Ben is crazy about the roast chicken I made earlier this week. Can I just say again, it is SO refreshing after years of picky eating? It really gives me hope that maybe someday ever-so-picky Kyle will eat more than cheese, pasta, and peanut butter.


And in the interest of total honesty: my main motivation for this post? I really just wanted to have 31 posts in October. You know, so it would read: "October (31)." Get it? There are 31 days in October. I'm goofy like that, these silly little things make me happy!

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

just call me "pioneer woman"

Well, not really.

It's just that I feel a bit like a pioneer at times, having all these adventures in the kitchen. Recently I've tried my hand at making yogurt. I made with with pasteurized, non-homogenized milk first, and then for the next time I used raw milk, and tried it again. I don't eat yogurt, personally, but the other residents of my house do. Besides, I had some recipes I wanted to try which called for homemade yogurt. I'm told it turned out well, and I'm going to have to take their word for it.

Also on the list of things I've been experimenting with: making cream cheese & whey, my own refried beans, chicken stock, and enchilada sauce. Some have been hits and some have been misses, but all have been outside of my comfort zone.

It's kind of fun, though, seeing what I can concoct in the kitchen. I'm sure I'll do a lot more experimenting in the next few months. I certainly never imagine that I'd end up learning to make so many foods from scratch.

I'm even thinking of making a sourdough starter, people. This is stuff out of the Little House books!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Stellan's arrival

God is good, all the time! Stellan arrived safely and all seems to be going well. For more details, click here.

on the move

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

please pray for MckMama & baby Stellan

I know some of you already read MckMama's my charming kids blog, but I wanted to pass on this prayer request anyway. Tomorrow morning at 9:30 AM CST, baby Stellan is scheduled to be born via C-section. I am so excited about the way God has worked in this family's lives, and how the baby who was deemed "irreversibly," terminally sick a few months ago, is doing so well today.

Let's pray for peace, health, & safety for Stellan and his mama. And that the Lord will be glorified through this amazing journey.

mommy confessions

~I enjoy my own playlist so much that I often just put it on to cook by.

~I avoid shopping with both Ben & Kyle at the same time, at all costs.

~Last week I was about "this close" to selling Kyle to the gypsies.

~I missed about half of Benajmin's fall soccer games, and you know what? I'm okay with that.

~I despise being in charge of school fundraisers!

Monday, October 27, 2008

annual harvest party

Last night was our church's annual Harvest Party. The boys were so excited; it's always a ton of fun. This year was no exception!

The kids (and many adults too) always dress up in costumes. This year Ben was Buzz Lightyear, Owen was Tigger, and Kyle...was going to be Thomas the Tank Engine. But at the 11th hour he decided that he envied Benjamin's costume so much, he didn't even want to dress up. So the Thomas costume stayed woefully behind, though we did manage to convince Kyle to wear the Thomas hat that came with it...

Anyway, at the Harvest Party there are tons of fun activities: ring toss, balloon darts, a dunk tank, whack-a-mole, shooting range, archery, face painting, balloon animals, fishing for prizes, a labyrinth-like puzzle the size of a table, a hayrack ride, cake walk, and more. It was so much fun, and we had a beautiful day for it. Ben & Kyle are already talking about next year!

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Saturday, October 25, 2008

having it all

Warm, fuzzy pajamas and a basketful of toys. Ah, this is the life.
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Friday, October 24, 2008

fear itself

Our middle child, our passionate one, has lately been struggling with fearfulness. We are going on our fifth night since the dramatics began. It started on Monday night, when Kyle woke us up, time after time. He just would not rest by himself. Jeff laid with him for a while, but eventually he needed to get up and prepare for work (the poor man's alarm clock goes off at 4:30 AM). That day during quiet time (our word for "it's naptime, but since I can't force you to sleep, and am unwilling to lay with you for two hours, you must at least spend some time playing in your room") he had a hard time, though I didn't think much of it.

But it's become apparent that he is sincerely afraid. And of what? At first he was talking of monsters, but the past two days the main source of his apprehension has been....(da-da-da-DA!)... spy mosquitoes. I confess I have no idea where this concept was born. It seems completely absurd, yet to him it is a real problem, and apparently a very scary one.

He is loathe to be in his room by himself, and even Benjamin's presence in their shared room often isn't enough to help. One can imagine how this could become a problem: at quiet time, at bedtime. And it isn't just related to his bedroom; he doesn't want to be left alone downstairs, either. If Jeff is at work, Ben is at school, and I need to go upstairs with Owen for a minute, Kyle declares that he must accompany us. Yesterday morning he even insisted on coming with me, from the living room to the kitchen, when I went to get a drink of water. So, we're having quite a bit of togetherness these days. He did sleep in his room yesterday afternoon, but ended his quiet time with terrified screaming, and when I went to him, his heart was pounding. He was really, truly frightened.

We talk to him about God, and how he can pray anytime, tell God he is scared, or happy, or anything. We sing "God is bigger than the boogeyman..." and watch VeggieTales' "Where's God When I'm S-s-scared?" video. We pray for him, with him, hoping that he will feel covered by God's presence, that he will "lay down and sleep in peace." (Psalm 4:8)

So far, it doesn't seem to be helping much. He walked around all morning yesterday, looking distressed and saying things like "I wish I could fly up to heaven to be with Jesus." I kept telling him that Jesus is with us, right here, right now. I said that it wasn't his time to go to heaven yet, but that the great thing (well, one of them) about God is that He is with us all the time, and that He takes care of us. I hope Kyle will believe me, but so far it's still pretty tenuous. He seems certain that his only hope is to fly up to heaven, to be with Jesus.

I've struggled with fear at times, too. Sometimes I have been nearly paralyzed by it. After I lost my baby in January 2007, I had a really hard time with my next pregnancy, Owen's pregnancy. I had to continually take my thoughts captive (2 Corinthians 10:5), remembering that all of us are in the Lord's hands, and that He alone knows "all the days ordained for me," or my baby. I made Philippans 4:6-7 my focus, posting the passage up around my house, so I would have constant reminders of the truth.

6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Little Kyle, he feels things so deeply, and has such a hard time believing that the way to banish his fears is so simple. I'll be praying with him, and for him, that he will continually take his worries to the Lord, and might experience that amazing peace, the peace which passes understanding.

funky friday

I recently made this discovery in my spice cupboard. What's wrong with this picture??
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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

in the darkness

Together in the rocking chair
The house so quiet
He and I alone awake
Relaxing, his little body a sigh
Eyes closing again, a gentle tugging
His tiny hand lightly running along my forearm
And back again
As if to reassure himself that even in the dark
I, as familiar as his own skin, am here
Holding him, snug on my lap
We are warm
Relaxing, together, in this dark quiet time

a passing observation

Hey, is this how this playing-with-your-brother thing works?
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Monday, October 20, 2008

at the pumpkin patch: batch 3

Here are the last few pictures of our visit to the pumpkin patch. Enjoy!

Benjamin worked hard gathering pumpkins. In fact, he gathered so many that we asked him to put quite a few back--he went over the limit. But he still had fun gathering them!
Using those strong muscles!

Enjoying our lunch...

Owen & Grandma Isom sharing a cuddle.

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at the pumpkin patch: batch 2

Here's a fun picture we take every year. This year is Owen's debut!
Jeff's mom, Corrine, was able to join us this year! It was wonderful to have her along: we all really enjoy her company.
Owen was pretty fascinated by the pumpkins, it was the most playful he was the whole time.
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Sunday, October 19, 2008

at the pumpkin patch: batch 1

We made it to our favorite pumpkin patch again this year! It's always a lot of fun there, and this time around was no exception. I'm planning to post quite a few pictures, so bear with me. There will only be three installments, I promise! ;)

Here is our family, getting ready for a hayrack ride. There is a little tour, and they teach us how to grow a pumpkin. The boys really enjoyed it.
Here's Jeff and Owen enjoying some cuddle time.
Kyle was so excited about taking a pony ride!

And for Ben, it's just another notch on his belt. Ah, experience...
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Friday, October 17, 2008

a dozen years ago today... best friend asked me to be his wife. Although I had known a proposal was coming, he took me by surprise all the same.

He was driving me back from college to spend a long weekend at home, and since it was dark, we decided to stop and do some star-gazing (this was something we used to do way back when, back when we didn't drop onto our pillows in exhaustion the moment the sun went down).

Although the day had been overcast, the clouds had cleared away and it was a beautiful, though cold, evening. Jeff reached upward, as if to touch the stars, and when his hand came down, there was a ring. He went down on one knee and asked his question.

My answer? "Yes, a thousand times yes!" And the rest, as they say, is history.

I love you, darlin'. Thanks for being so wonderful to me for so long. You're the only man in the world for me.

funky friday

What? Doesn't everyone eat dinner in their underwear, wearing a raincoat?
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Thursday, October 16, 2008

wonderous variety

Yesterday while I was in the living room nursing Owen, and blissfully watching a re-run of the Cosby Show, Benjamin was in the kitchen making his lunch for school today. Here is what he came up with...

Let's see, we have: peanut butter, mayonnaise, a banana, strawberry jam, a hard-boiled egg, root beer, ketchup, another banana, and fruit punch. Sound like a tasty combination? Here's the taste test:

What do you think, Benajmin?

Thumbs up! To each his own, I guess.
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uh oh, I've been tagged....

Alright, I don't usually go in for this sort of thing, but the challenge inspired me to do this one. You're supposed to share 7 quirky things about yourself, and then tag 5 other bloggers to do the same. Here goes:

1) Every single time I prepare to bake a cake, I get the song that goes, "if I'd known you were coming, I'd have baked a cake, baked a cake, baked a cake..." in my head.

2) I would get into my pajamas at 5pm every day if I could.

3) I would be perfectly content to eat the same breakfast & lunch every single day. These days breakfast is: 2 fried eggs, half a sprouted english muffin, some kind of fruit...and lunch: a large green salad & apple slices with almond butter, followed by Trail Mix for a nice crunchy finish.

4) I recently traded in my microwave for a toaster oven. Unconventional, I know.

5) I am freakishly excited that we are getting a chest freezer! :)

6) For years I was addicted to Carmex; now I don't go anywhere without my Burt's Bees lip balm. Apparently I have Lip Issues.

7) I keep a box of tissues in nearly every room of my know, just in case!

And now for the tagees*:

Carolyn ~

Traci ~

Ami ~

Rena ~

Jeff ~

(*And anyone else who wants to do it!)

Have fun!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Look what I made: Cream Cheese Pastries! So good....
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the meat of it: a nutrition summary

So! Here is the summery of what is up with our eating lately. Jeff and I just finished an experiment of sorts. It's something we read about in a book called The Maker's Diet, by Jordan Rubin. It's called a "40-Day Health Experience," and it's been so good for us. It was this book which began our health odyssey, which continues to this day.

Back in July I "stumbled" across a TV show on TBN. The show was called "Perfect Weight America," and the guy hosting the show said some things that immediately intrigued me. I did some research and ran across this article. I checked out his book, "The Maker's Diet," from the library, and was completely fascinated.

It's from this book that I've learned about raw milk, soaked and sprouted grains, grass-fed beef, nutritious oils & other healthy fats (we eat butter daily!), the impact of eating organic...pretty much all the health changes we've made in our family life. I highly recommend the book, it's amazing. I also learned of a cookbook called "Nourishing Traditions" by Sally Fallon. It's very much in the same vein as the Rubin book, but with even more information, and an abundance of wonderful recipes. I am loving it!

To tell you more about our 40-day health experience: it's broken into 3 2-week phases. The first phase, the carbohydrates that you can eat are pretty restricted. Phase 2 has a bit more leeway, and in Phase 3 there is greater freedom still. The main goal is not weight loss (though that did happen) but health. Cutting out simple carbs and highly-refined foods helped regulate our blood sugar and insulin levels. It helped us push past our cravings for sugary stuff...a detox, if you will.

Again, our motivation was not weight loss, yet we did both lose weight. I now weigh what I did when we conceived our first child. Jeff lost 20 lbs. We didn't even change how we exercise...just cutting out the crud did it. Who knew?

We're both really pleased with how our experiment has gone. Our children have weathered it pretty well (no, we didn't put them on the "diet," but some of the changes we made did trickle down to them...for example, they're getting used to eating lentils instead of biscuits at dinnertime). I feel that all "systems" of my body are working better now. My complexion is clearer, I no longer have trouble getting to sleep during the night, and I have more energy. Jeff and I are planning to continue with the gist of this diet; the main thing is to eat foods that God made, in a form as easily digestible as possible. It makes so much sense, when you think about it.

If you're still reading, and not utterly sick of my "food" talk, I have one more point that I want to make. Many of you are probably shaking your heads, thinking something like, "That would be too hard, it's an ideal," or "I'd rather just eat the good stuff!" My thought is this: how do we define "good stuff?" My definition has changed, and I am coming to see that God has given us an incredibly wonderful variety in the foods He has provided.

Okay, so here is my bottom line: it seems to me that trying to eat this way is something of a reflection of what it is to live according to the guidelines God has set for us. Stay with me now: I am NOT saying that sugar, etc. is sinful, not at all. I do believe that it can lead to a myriad of health problems down the road. But listen: it may be hard to give up some old habits, yet it appears that the payoff is worth it. And there is so much delicious freedom, and benefit, within these guidelines! It's not about self-deprivation.

It's about eating for the health of it...for the joy of it!

Monday, October 13, 2008

mommy confessions

~I have so many fingernails & toenails to keep track of, it makes my head ache.

~I still cry practically every time I read "Horton Hatches the Egg" by Dr. Seuss.

~I still haven't assigned my children household chores, because then I would have to enforce them.

~Jeff & I can't seem to decide about whether or not we will try for another baby. One of us is ready to be totally done, the other isn't.

~I have a pair of toddler-sized Elmo underwear in my purse. (don't ask)

Friday, October 10, 2008

sippy cup spurned

So, I know it's a bit early for a sippy cup, but the package said "6+ months" and I thought I'd try it. All he wanted to do was chew on it.

See, he has never been offered a bottle. Neither Ben nor Kyle really took a bottle very well, but they did okay in a pinch, and at least we had made the attempt with them. Also, when they were babies I had a stash of milk in the freezer. We didn't use a lot of it, but we had it. It's a bit morbid I guess, but I always thought: "What if I get hit by a car? What if I die from an aneurism and he would have no stash of food? What if I end up in a coma and..." I wouldn't say I was afraid of these things happening, exactly, but I recognized the possibility of something sudden and difficult, and prepared for it.

With Owen? No stash. I'm now providing enough milk to mix with his cereal every day, but that's it, for the most part. And we've never even tried him on a bottle. It just seemed like a headache, the pumping before and after...and we didn't really need that "skill" with the other boys.

All the same, it doesn't sit entirely easy with me. Those ugly potentialities still creep into my mind at times. So when I saw this sippy cup for babies, I thought I'd give it a try. You know, for in a pinch for the babysitter or something. And..... nope. Oh, I suppose we'll keep trying when I've got a bit of extra milk in the refrigerator, but for now, for milk, it's me or nothing.

Now we just have to pray that I won't be struck by lightning.
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the adventures of the lizard and the turtle

Kyle has been especially fond of a couple of little pals lately. Here are some of their adventures:

The turtle coming out of his "house"...
and the lizard checking out some of Kyle's abandoned snack...
...the turtle sleeping late in Kyle's bed...

the lizard in the "nest" that Kyle built for him...

the turtle hitching a ride...
...and the lizard watching TV with his big buddy.

For more on Kyle, the lizard, and the turtle, check out Jeff's blog.
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