Sunday, November 30, 2008


So exciting! We've borrowed a butter churn from Jeff's parents, and tonight? Jeff made butter! First he skimmed off the cream from several jugs of milk, and let it sit in the refrigerator for a day or so. Then he put it in the churn, and started churning. He churned and churned and churned...

And then there was butter!
Does that look delicious, or what?
Also, we now have fresh buttermilk. Cheers!
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a rich, full day

This year we celebrated Thanksgiving Day at Jeff's parents' house, which is across the city from us. There was quite a crowd there; I believe we totaled 30 people or so. It was great to see family members and to catch up on our lives.

Here is a four-generation picture: Jeff, his dad Steve, grandpa Bob, and our three boys.

And here is Great-Grandma tickling Kyle...he has such a great laugh!

This is a picture of Great-Grandpa and Great-Grandma with their great-grandchildren -- the ones who were there that day, anyway. It wasn't even close to being all of them!

Cousin Deb had a great activity for the kids: Oreo candy turkeys! Here is Benjamin with his finished products:

And Kyle really enjoyed polishing off his turkey, too! The sugary one, I don't think the actual poultry passed his lips at all....

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

thankful me

It's a good thing to give thanks to the Lord! Today I am especially thankful for:

~the fact that Kyle spent the last two nights entirely in his bedroom
~Ben's willingness to try new foods
~carob peanut clusters
~running water
~Jeff's job
~the gift of growing up in a family that loves the Lord
~the warm, wonderful, welcoming family I married into
~the fact that both my parents and my husband's parents are still together and in love
~our family's health
~my amazing, smart, fun, tender-hearted husband Jeff, who is so good at loving me
~having three wonderful, lively boys
~Benjamin's eagerness to help
~Kyle's joyful spirit
~Owen's eternal patience
~the knowledge that my "lost" baby Riley is safe in Jesus' arms
~God's incomprehensible love for me
~knowing that even when the future is uncertain, I know Who holds it

Monday, November 24, 2008

"Not me!" Monday

Here I go again! Another "Not Me!" Monday post, as inspired by MckMama at My Charming Kids.

I did not sit at the dentist's office last week, rather mortified to find myself staring at my spitty shoes. Nope, not me! The shoes certainly did not look like someone had dropped a spoonful of sour cream on the floor in front me. That would be really gross, and I definitely would have cleaned my shoes before leaving the house. And even if it were true, I would certainly have de-spitted the shoes by now...

Also, I did not find myself in a Costco restroom on Saturday, sitting for an extra minute while I reveled in the smell of a freshly-cleaned bathroom--which I myself did not clean. Because Lysol is not what daydreams are made of, at least for me.

I am definitely not considering buying a few more carob peanut clusters anytime soon. Because they're obviously a bit addictive, as well as being frivolous, so that would be a silly thing to do. So, clearly not me!

I do not have a tendency to overuse italics, and thus really enjoy these posts. Italics are way overrated, and a mature person should have very little need for them. Thus, they aren't an issue for matter what my 9th grade English teacher may have told you.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


1) Kyle: "Mom, I don't wike water at bweakfast, I wike water at birthdays and lunches and dinners..."

2) Ben: "Remember how, a long time ago, before the last VBS or when we went to the zoo...when we had Ritz crackers?"

3) "Mom, we're not brothers anymore. Ben quits!!!"

4) "Ben, laugh at me! You're Goliath and I'm David..."

Monday, November 17, 2008

we have a monster in our house, after all

Kyle came downstairs yesterday afternoon and announced:
"I'm going to scawe evewyone! I have monstew feet."


Of course, this is the really scary face...whiney!
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"Not me!" Monday

So I've mentioned MckMama a few times, and her lovely blog My Charming Kids. Her blog is the home of "Not me!" Monday ("Being brutally honest and living to tell about it"), which I have been enjoying for months now. This morning I finally decided to join in on the fun. It's said to be theraputic; we'll see. Here goes, my first time!

I did not just eat breakfast with the laptop as my only company, even though there are three kids in the house. Nope, not me! And I certainly did not finish breakfast, only to get up and dish myself up a bowl of salty cashews. That would be weird for breakfast, I definitely wouldn't do that.

So then I most certainly did not polish off the last four carob peanut clusters, which I bought yesterday on a whim and found surprisingly addictive. Because that wouldn't be a very responsible or adult way to end the first meal of the day. Nope, that clearly wasn't me.

And while Jeff was out of town I definitely did not let Kyle sleep in my bed for the last part of the night, because I was simply too tired to care when he crawled in with me at 4:30 AM. We don't allow our children to sleep in Mommy & Daddy's bed, so I'm sure I wouldn't do that.

I most certainly did not spend my entire Friday evening, after I got the boys in bed, sitting at the computer reading blogs and messing around with Facebook. Because I don't love blogs at all, and I am impervious to Facebook's lure. That definitely wasn't me, no matter what you might have seen if you were peeking in the window.

Definitely didn't agree to watch my friend's little boy on Thursday afternoon, because that is Bible study night and it's crazy enough without adding an extra child to the mix. That wouldn't be a very good idea. And I definitely did not send Ben, Kyle, and the guest up to the bedroom shortly before dinner, just so they would keep the messes contained to upstairs. Nope, not me.

And I certainly didn't just have a crying, naked 3-year-old boy on the couch next to me. I definitely didn't absolutely refuse to let him wear his church pants today, because it's really not that big of a deal. I definitely know how to pick my battles better than that.

Just don't ask him about that!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

last gasp

Today we squeezed a teeny bit more pleasure from the outdoors. It was such a beautiful day, after a week or two of rain! What a treat. I decided to take the boys to the park for a picnic. Jeff was in Seattle for a few days, so we missed his company. But we had a great time, even so.

Ben and Kyle were dressed in raincoats...just in case?

Owen enjoyed playing near the picnic basket. He is quite fond of my water bottle!


I think Kyle's sunglasses add a certain distinction, don't you?

Ben really enjoyed pushing Owen in the swing (Owen enjoyed it too, although it's hard to tell from this photo!)

What a great day.
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there's a (little) man following me!

Don't I just have the cutest stalker ever?
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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

someone to watch over me

Our imaginative Kyle seems a bit less fearful these days, with one glaring caveat: he doesn't like to be alone. He refuses to go up to his room if no one else will be upstairs with him. He hates to be left downstairs if he'll be by his lonesome there. It usually isn't a problem; I don't mind him joining me while I change Owen's diaper, nor do I argue if he asks to bring his clothes downstairs and get dressed near me while I fix breakfast.

It is a problem, however, during quiet time and bedtime. Oh, bedtime is fairly peaceful...until Benjamin falls asleep. They share a room, you see (sometimes a blessing and sometimes a headache), and Kyle will stay in his room happily enough these days...until his big brother falls asleep. And Ben almost always falls asleep first. Then Kyle comes down the stairs, tired, cross, and, of course, scared. He says that he doesn't want to be up there if Ben won't open his eyes, he needs a "gwown-up" to be with him. Two nights ago we gave him hugs and convinced him to go back upstairs to bed. A few minutes later we heard him screaming at his brother "Ben, wake up! Wake up, Ben! I'm scared!" Poor Benjamin did wake up, completely startled and confused. Oh, the joy of sharing a room with a three-year-old...

And quiet time? Well, the last few days Kyle has been taking comfort in a companion of a different sort: our cat, Cassie. Kyle had been pretty indifferent to the cat until just recently, but now he has decided that she is sufficient company when he's out of options. So at naptime, quiet time, he insists that she be with him, and only then will he curl up and sleep. On Mommy & Daddy's bed, no less.

But hey, at least he's sleeping.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

who's who answers

Top left: Kyle
Bottom left: Benjamin
Bottom right: Owen

Thanks for playing, everyone! Those who guessed correctly: Ami and Paige! Way to go, ladies. :)
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Monday, November 10, 2008

"Boys in My House"

by Erin Jo Kilmer

There are boys in my house – and Spiderman shoes
And 200 papers in various blues.
There's Bob (he's a builder) and Thomas the Train,
There's a fireman coat to wear in the rain.
They have cars on their shirts and frogs on their hats
There's a glove and a ball and a red plastic bat.
There's dirt on a face and a smudge on a nose;
Grass stains on knees and sand between toes.
There's bathtime at night with bodies to scrub,
And when we're all done there is dirt in the tub!
There's bandaids and bruises and curious bumps,
There's smiles and laughter and sometimes there's grumps.
There's odors most icky; there's boogers so green
There's more yucky things than I'll ever get clean.
There's piles of laundry; there's stories at night;
There's bedtime and bathtime and dinnertime fights.
There's cars and there's trains and there's books about trucks
There's Scoop, Lofty, Dizzy, and Travis, and Muck.
Sometimes there are bugs, and sometimes there are frogs;
Sometimes they are lions, or dinos, or dogs.
There are cute little vests and darling neckties
Dragged right through the mud – oh what a surprise!
There's running and climbing and jumping and falling
And laughing and crying and hugging and brawling
And rolling and losing and finding and creeping
And whining and stealing and sometimes there's sleeping.
There's tantrums and time outs and extra loud noise –
There's love in my house shaped like two little boys.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

who's who: 8 months old

I thought it was about time for another Who's Who? This in honor of Owen turning 8 months old today. Here are pictures of the boys at approximately 8 months old (plus a place-holding rainbow). Can you tell which are Ben, Kyle, and Owen? Answers will be posted on Tuesday. Good luck!
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so long, farewell

Ben had his last day at GMC yesterday. He was pretty sad about it. But, he got to walk to the craft store with a teacher & the other remaining kindergartner, and pick out some materials for a craft to take home.

Behold, our newest autumn decor! Benjamin did a great job, and it even smells good.
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Friday, November 7, 2008

memory lane

Kyle: Mom, remember that time when you and me and daddy and Ben and Owen went to the park, and had a picnic?

Me: Yep, I sure do.

Kyle: And remember that I needed to go poop?

Me: And Ben and Daddy had gone home for a minute, because Ben needed to go potty too? And there wasn't a bathroom at this park?

Kyle: Yeah. And I needed to go poop, so I decided to go.

Me: Yeah, and I had an empty chips bag and I told you to try to poop into the chips bag?

Kyle: Yeah. (silence) We should do that again. That was fun.


It's hard to know what next week will look like.

Of course, that is generally the way it is in this life. We can plan, but only God knows what will be. We've been studying the book of James in my women's Bible study group, and this week we talked about this very thing.

13Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." 14Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that." 16As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. 17Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins. James 4:13-17

Although last week we had high hopes for Ben to get into the charter school, this week we are no closer to that goal. A few days ago we were eagerly waiting for the phone call that would tell us for sure; now we're just hoping it works out. It's all up in the air at the moment, and I don't like it one bit.

But so many things in life are a question of timing. Whether the school will be able to work things out so that they have room for Benjamin -- the right time to buy a house or find a new job -- having children -- and yes, even when the school he's in now will close. Last week I was talking about how glad I suddenly was that we hadn't been able to find a place for Ben, so that he was available to go into the charter school. Now, I am weary with wondering how this will all play out. There are many details which would need to be worked out, first. Details over which I have no control.

It's been a stressful week. There have been stress-related headaches, stomachaches, and tantrums...and that's just talking about the adults! Both Jeff and I have felt a bit like we were a couple of bundles of nerves. I'm not sure why we've taken this situation so hard, but it has us feeling quite down, no doubt about it. You might say, "But, it's only kindergarten." Yes. But it's also our son.

And I admittedly don't do well with uncertainty. I am a planner, and I like to know. So, I'm sure there's a lesson intended for me in this. And I'm trying to relax my grip a bit, so I can really put this situation in the Lord's hands.

So: if it is the Lord's will, Benjamin will be accepted into the charter school. It certainly is what we're hoping for. But it won't be based on anything we do or don't do. It's all in His hands, according to His plan.

I know he has a place for my boy, a perfect plan all worked out. And I look forward to seeing what that is.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

changing horses, midstream

Benjamin is changing schools.

Largely due to economic difficulties, the school where Ben has been since the fall of 2006, which he loves, is closing. We've known that this was a strong possibility for more than a month now. Despite extra effort from the staff and parents to help out, it seems that the school is indeed buckling. The numbers have been steadily dwindling, and the school (private, Montessori) isn't even coming close to paying for itself.

So we've been scrambling to find another place for our Ben. It's been a bit stressful, as we kept getting told that there were no openings for kindergartners in a Montessori classroom anywhere near us.

But! We heard last week that there was a good chance that Ben will get into the school we've been hoping for. It's ideal: it's a charter school (which will be infinitely better on our pocketbook than another private institution), Montessori, and it's two minutes from our house. We've been so excited about the possibility. I had a chance to tour the school a few weeks ago, and was very impressed by all that I saw. But Ben was several names down on the waiting list, so we didn't dare count on it.

Of course, we're still sad that his beloved school is closing. Ben has loved it there, and made good friends. We were planning to send Kyle there next year, and now we'll have to rework that plan. But most of all, it's such a great school. The teacher there is amazing; she is so good with the children, a natural teacher. So it's really sad that the school she's started, and poured her life into, is failing.

We haven't talked to Benjamin about any of this yet. We wanted to wait until we knew more details, so he wouldn't be adrift in the uncertainty we've been experiencing. Still, I think he suspects. There are currently only four children left in the 3-6 years age group. And there have been so many parent meetings in the evenings, and various conversations going on, that I'm sure has to know that something is up. We're praying that the details will fall into place for the charter school. For now, I hope the conversation with Benjamin goes well, when the time comes. And it's coming soon! It seems the school is officially closing in only two more days...


1) Kyle: "Mom, it looks like Ben needs some consequences."

2) "He's got the whole wide Mama, in His hands, He's got the whole wide Mama, in His hands..."

3) Kyle: "Okay, Mom, I'm sorry. I'll keep an eye on myself so I don't do that again."

4) "Will you pick me up? I'm really tired of being on the floor."

5) Ben, telling us about how he learned to "save people" during the staff CPR training at school. He even practiced on the dummies!

6) Ben, after Kyle was wanting to throw a rock if he saw Goliath outside, "Kyle, don't worry. The story of Goliath happened a long time ago. Even before you and I were born!!!"