Monday, August 31, 2009

"Not me!" Monday

Here' we are, at the start of another week, which brings us (usually) to "Not me!"Monday, the cathartic blog carnival started by the one and only MckMama. MckMama is not doing a "Not me!" post today at My Charming Kids, but I encourage you to hop over there all the same. Her blog is a delight to the eye and to the spirit.

I thought I'd let you know that you should not expect a "Not me!" post from me next Monday, on Labor Day. We will be out of state visiting family, and well...I just don't see it happening. I'm sure you'll all survive somehow.

I absolutely was not deep in a phone conversation last week, when, deciding I should look into Owen's whereabouts, found him standing on the top bunk of his brothers' beds. Nope, not me! I supervise my child much better than that.

So of course I would never discover him trying to put an "As Time Goes By" DVD into his brothers' CD player.

Likewise, I never allow it to possible that he would play in the toilet water. A tender 17-month-old instinctively understands that toilet water is icky. Therefore, I always make sure that all bathroom doors are shut tight...or lacking that, that there is a cinder block resting atop the lid. I keep that room like Fort Knox. Owen never comes to me holding out wet fingertips, voicing something akin to "whazzis?"

While my husband was gone last weekend, I definitely did not decide to wiggle my pregnant self, snake-like, under Kyle's bed. I would never be so desperate to be reunited with my favorite books. No way! Not me! It would be totally undignified to perform an act like that, and a pregnant women is, above all things, dignified. At all times. Especially during the transition stage of labor.

And last of all, I absolutely did not work myself into such a state of expectant anticipation of popcorn and an epic movie the other night, that I nearly cried when my 3-year-old came out of his bedroom with the announcement that he had a problem of a rather...personal nature. Definitely not. I am never fazed by interruptions, and my children's bathroom incidents always trump a silly old film. Even if it does involve popcorn.

What about you? What have you not been doing this week?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

the lot

In our family, we have a new favorite pastime. I think I can speak for all of us (with the possible exception of Owen, who doesn't understand enough to be properly excited) when I say that driving by the site of our future home, absolutely rocks.

The question: "Hey, do you want to drive by the lot?" is always met with a chorus of "Yeah!" and "The lot? Yay!" That sort of thing. It is so exciting to see the progress that is being made. This photo was taken nearly a week ago, and much more has been accomplished since that time. I love seeing it - it warms my heart!

We now have dates for when they'll begin the framing. The foundation is all in. I can hardly wait to see the place start to look like a proper house!

apartment living

So....we've taken the leap. We are now -- currently-- apartment-dwellers: something we haven't been for 7 1/2 years. All it not yet unpacked, by a long shot. And of course, it won't be. There's far too much to fit inside our tiny little place. Many of our belongings (furniture, keepsakes, kitchenware) is sitting in our two rented storage spaces.

And here we are. The boys are loving it, I think. Benjamin and Kyle are clearly happy to have their bunk beds back, along with some toys which haven't seen the light of day for months on end. Owen has his own room, but gleefully toddles into his brothers' bedroom whenever he has a chance. He has so much fun hanging out in there, playing with his brothers' toys, and just being with them.

All three boys have been sleeping like champions since we moved in, which is more than I'd ever asked for or imagined. Especially considering that we're on the ground floor, and that the boys' bedrooms are out next to the parking lot: so they're potentially exposed to the noise of people passing by, etc., as well as vehicles coming and going. What a gift their sweet sleep is!

Jeff and I, I must tell you, are struggling a bit. Not with each other...we're just somehow feeling very low about our new living arrangements. Everything feels crowded, and we still have boxes of things which we'd like to be here with us, but have no good place to put them. We're facing a new round of "Do you know where the ________ is?" It's very frustrating, and often the items are fairly important - recently missing was Benjamin's soccer uniform (the season's first game is Saturday...Jeff found it, thank goodness!). This is a minor example, I know. But this kind of thing contributes heavily to our morale.

Also, many things seem to be going wrong - the case in point being the theft of our van's CD player, as well as the family camera (as I mentioned in Monday's post). Jeff's car is not working right now, and we have no idea when it will be running again. We're receiving help of various kinds from our friends and wonderful church family. Yet we find that we are living with a sense of "...what will happen next?"

I hesitated to even write this post, because I don't want to come across as complaining. We are very blessed, and we know it. We're incredibly excited about the new house in's just that January seems to be so far away. And there's this foreboding sense of "...what could go wrong with that?" Still, I decided to go ahead and write it, after all, for two reasons. First, I wanted to let you know how we are, now that the (first) move is over. But secondly and most importantly, I wanted to ask you to pray for us. It seems clear to me that we are under spiritual attack. We're holding on, but we're discouraged. So if you think of it, please keep us in your prayers. We truly covet them.

We're getting there, though. I'm getting back into the swing of things in my tiny little kitchen. I believe it is doing our hearts and bodies good to have nourishing food on a more consistent basis. And our family is in the midst of a very busy few weeks; hopefully once we're past that time, we'll be able to relax and breathe a bit better.

We are so thankful that the sale of "our" house did close, and for all we have to look forward to. Jeff and I are grateful for good health, a lovely pregnancy, and easygoing children. So as we begin this new chapter of our marriage, we're reminding ourselves to count our blessings. Because we are so, so blessed. We do know that.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

CSA report

It recently occurred to me that I haven't shared about our CSA experience since our first basket of produce. And although I have been posting weekly "CSA reports" on my Facebook page, I want to share here as well.

In case you don't know, CSA stands for "Community Supported Agriculture." It's an opportunity to purchase local, seasonal food directly from a nearby farmer. In my case, I get my produce from an organic farm in Sandy, Oregon. If you're interested in finding a CSA program near you, go to Local Harvest. That site also has a more thorough explanation of the risks and benefits of doing something like this.

This has been our first time participating in a CSA program, and it's been wonderful. It has been really fun, as the weeks go on, to see the different items that are coming home in the basket. This week's haul yielded this glorious slew of tomatoes:

...and a lovely collection of pears: Barlett (I think) and Asian varieties. They go like hotcakes around here!

We have also enjoyed several varieties of lettuce (so plentiful that I have sometimes ended up giving a head or two away), wheatgrass, kale, chard, zucchini, cherries, blueberries, raspberries, plums, apples, red and gold potatoes, cabbage, cauliflower, peas, wax beans, burgundy beans, green beans, sweet peppers, hot peppers, basil, cinnamon basil, rosemary, mint, squash, and pumpkin.

Yes, I do realize that pumpkin is a kind of squash. Still, I feel that it's in a class of its own.

It seems that perhaps lettuce season is over, but the past few weeks we've been enjoying a plentiful supply of tomatoes. I am really digging the tomatoes!

I had hoped that this experience would stretch me in the vegetable department, and it has. I'm learning how to cool different foods than I've ever ventured into before. The boys are coming along for the ride, too...but slowly. My oldest is still the most adventurous eater of the crew. He makes me smile when he (often) tries to talk his 3-year-old brother into trying something new. "You'll never know if you like it, unless you try it!"

How very true!

***This post is a part of Real Food Wednesday, hosted this week by Cheeseslave. Feel free to hop over there and see what others are sharing about real food this week!

Monday, August 24, 2009

"Not me" Monday

This Monday brings us an installment of "Not my" Monday, a blog carnival hosted by MckMama over at My Charming Kids. Check out her never disappoints.

During the weekend of The Move, I absolutely did not fall off the nourishing food wagon. I was not tempted in the least by the 3 large pizzas we ordered to feed our work crew. Nor did I hear the ice cream calling to me that came along with the meal graciously brought to us by a family from church one night, OR the plate of cookies which arrived with the second meal on Saturday night. Nope, not me! I am never tempted by the kinds of foods I used to thoughtlessly eat. Nope, not me!

Along those lines, I definitely didn't suffer many physical symptoms for days afterward, causing me to repent and quickly climb back on said nourishing food wagon. Begone, white flour and white sugar!

While cleaning out a bathtub in the empty house, I for sure didn't make myself cry by singing "If These Walls Could Speak" and thinking about all that had gone on in that bathroom. Because there is nothing nostalgic about potty training, nor any other bathroom activities.

Last week Jeff and I absolutely did not accidentally leave our van unlocked one evening, after arriving home late from Bible study. We certainly weren't so intent on getting the boys into the apartment and to bed that we forgot to secure our most important family vehicle. Consequently, the next morning, I definitely didn't find that our car stereo (CD player) had been stolen out from under our noses. No way! We would never have even one oversight, resulting in such a sad loss. And we definitely wouldn't have left our camera in the van too, which had photos from our last family visit to the old house, to say goodbye... Things like us never happen to us. Especially not during that week.

I am so not going to miss having a car stereo during our upcoming 9-hour drive to Idaho. Because I rarely listen to music while on the road...

Over the weekend, I certainly did not spend nearly $60 on a cleverly-designed t-shirt and maternity pajamas. No way, not me! I mean, why pay $37 on pajamas when I can just as easily sleep in my husband's shirt? I have not always wanted to buy some, but either way I definitely wouldn't have succumbed while in my 5th pregnancy. No. Way.

Speaking of my older children (sort of), I absolutely do not continuously implore a certain one of my children to "please, please keep your voice down." I care nothing for what my apartment building-mates think of me, my family, and boys specifically. So what if they believe that a band of hooligans has moved in? Let kids be kids!

I am totally not sneezing my head off today. But if I were, I'd blame the White Flour lapse...

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

the song

if these walls could speak

This is the house we bought seven and a half years ago. We were childless, untried. In a sense, we were just starting out - even though we had been married for five years. But oh, the memories which have filled these spaces since that March day in 2002....

Special dinners, quiet lunches. A baby's first spoon foods, a toddler's selective eating. Laughter, nonsensical jokes, company, tears, love.

A son was brought home here, two days old. Later, two more sons were born in this very room. They made their way into this world, and blinked around with their new eyes.

Tender moments. Babies sleeping in the bassinet near my bed. Learning to parent, learning about life. Joy, grief, mourning turned to dancing.

Sleepy times, lullabies. Croupy nights. Stories and disastrous diapers.

Fort-building. Legos. Music, dancing. Fighting, tickling.

First forays into real cooking. The smell of chicken roasting, and of almonds drying. Success, failures, nourishment. My domain.

This place has been so good to us. It holds countless memories, which I will keep, forever, in my heart. So much has happened here , moments come and gone.

I am thankful that our first house was a true home.

If These Walls Could Speak
(as performed by Amy Grant)

If these old walls,
If these old walls could speak
Of the things that they remember well,
Stories and faces dearly held,
A couple in love
Livin’ week to week,
Rooms full of laughter,
If these walls could speak.

If these old halls,
If hallowed halls could talk,
These would have a tale to tell
Of sun goin’ down and dinner bell,
And children playing at hide and seek
from floor to rafter,
If these halls could speak.

They would tell you that I’m sorry
For bein’ cold and blind and weak.
They would tell you that it’s only
That I have a stubborn streak,

If these walls could speak.
If these old fashioned window panes were eyes,
I guess they would have seen it all--
Each little tear and sigh and footfall,
And every dream that we came to seek
Or followed after,
If these walls could speak.

They would tell you that I owe you
More than I could ever pay.
Here’s someone who really loves you;
Don’t ever go away.
That’s what these walls would say.

They would tell you that I owe you
More than I could ever pay.
Here’s someone who really loves you;
Don’t ever go away.
That’s what these walls would say.

That’s what these walls would say.

That’s what these walls would say.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

the done deal

After months of attempts, toil, patience, excitement, disappointment, and pessimism laced with optimism, it is over.

We have sold our house!

All the parties involved have signed the required paperwork. It's official - we are no longer homeowners! I'd be dancing a jig and sipping champagne if I weren't expecting a baby.

As if I have time to sip champagne.

As if I have time to be blogging!

Tomorrow we begin the move: the next time I post, it shall be from a small but cozy 3-bedroom apartment.

Can you believe it?!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Would you believe it?

The week that we're moving, and the tomatoes (which, you may recall, we planted really late due to foiled moving plans)........they're getting ripe.
How's that for timing?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


It hit me yesterday. I have become a do-it-yourselfer.

Good grief, when did that happen?

I assure you, I've never been that kind of girl. Yes, I've always enjoyed baking cookies and things, and I have made homemade bread for years...but I really only began making it because it was a "No Knead" recipe. And with my KitchenAid mixer, the recipe was so easy.

My point is that I have been perfectly content, for years, to do things the easy way. I bought large quantities of canned and prepackaged food. I was happy to let the food companies do things for me. And I would never have dreamed of making my own pasta. What was the point?

Now, of course, I know what the point is. Homemade can and should mean more nourishing food, prepared in the optimal way, and infinitely higher in quality. Making food at home means you can control what goes into it, as well as how it's made. I truly believe that it's worth it.

So in less than a year I've gone from the girl who bought everything pre-made, what? To a girl who weekly makes butter and yogurt. A girl who bakes crackers as often as I can spare the butter, and whose family rejoices greatly when they learn that it's (homemade) Noodle Night.

I read an article recently. It was about moms who simply...make stuff. To sell, but also for their families to use. One mother mentioned something called the "I can make that" syndrome. You can get to the point where you have a need, you get an idea, and you decide to give it a whirl, yourself. Need a memory blanket? No problem. A pretty tray to serve drinks on? It can be done. A certain kind of toy for your child? Absolutely.

Now, I am not a crafty person. Not at all. In fact, the ideas that I just mentioned make my stomach clench in anxiety. I failed miserably during the sewing unit of my Home Ec. class. And I was really impressed with myself when I measured and cut rectangles of fleece to use as wicking diaper liners.

I think it's safe to say that I am fairly inept in the craft department.

But something in that article really resonated with me. I'm beginning to see the value in doing things - creating things in the kitchen - myself. Largely because so much of what is marketed on the grocery store shelves is horribly bad for us, even a lot of the "healthy" stuff. But also...I'm finding a satisfaction in learning how to make different kinds of food myself. I've become fascinated by attempting "lost" arts.

Every time I make butter, I think it's like a miracle. To agitate cream long enough, and have this beautiful, delicious, nourishing yellow stuff? It amazes me. And wonder of wonders...I made it happen. God created the nature of milk, and I was able to tap into that, and end up with butter.

Not each and every experiment has been a success, of course. My attempt to make enchildada sauce without a food mill was a disaster. And I was less than thrilled with the whipped cream I made for fruit pizza a few weeks ago. But, I'm learning: trial and error. And I'm excited to continue trying, and learning as I go.

Who knows what it may be able possible to accomplish next?

Monday, August 10, 2009

"Not me!" Monday

Another Monday brings us to another week of "Not me" Monday, the confessional blog carnival created and perpetuated by the charming MckMama over at My Charming Kids. Hop on over to her blog and join in on the fun!

I certainly was not volunteering to help with Vacation Bible School a few weeks ago, so that my underage Kyle could attend. It would've been clearly lunacy when we were planning to be moving at the end of said week. I would never agree to something that would take me away from home during a few quiet evenings when I could be spending that time packing minus the interruptions... But if I had, I would be really glad in hindsight for deciding to help, after all!

Awhile back, I definitely didn't wash a load of diapers, not so much because the diapers needed to be washed, as because Owen is plowing through our cloth wipes so quickly that I needed more clean wipes. Not me! I would never do that.

Speaking of diaper changes which require wipes (read: poopy diapers), after a failed attempt to find and purchase flushable diaper liners locally, I absolutely didn't intentionally buy refills for "g diapers," in spite of owning no g diapers whatsoever. I am definitely not so desperate for some way to cut back on the amount of toddler bowel movements with which I cope on a daily basis. And if I was, then I certainly could've been patient for just one more week. I mean, really. Those are expensive!

Obviously, I am not at all interested in pampering any delicate pregnant sensibilities.

Totally didn't get misty watching the VeggieTales video "The Ballad of Little Joe" with my children. Because, how can veggies drive home the beautiful truth of "you intended it for harm, but God intended it for good"? They' and crisp, mostly.

I absolutely didn't make a complete mess of my kitchen one night, making Wardeh's delightful Chocolate Kefir Smoothie, because I decided not to halve it, and it was way too much for my food processor to handle. And I did not plow on, even when chocolate smoothie was oozing from every crevice of the food processor, creating something of a cocoa-colored lake on my counter. My 6-year-old did not walk by and comment, "Wow, that is really messy!"

I am, after all, a model housewife.

Lastly, I am not utterly thrilled that in spite of eating my fair share of butter, beef, coconut oil, eggs, pizza, ice cream, and cookies, I have not gained one pound since I became pregnant. I care nothing for what the scale says, and I am not even a little bit curious to see how my weight gain during this pregnancy differs from the previous pregnancies. I could not care one teensy bit. Nope, not me!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

the moving saga: plan E

We've had a few new developments in our moving saga this week. Midway through we learned that the appraiser would not agree to change his numbers at all. This was incredibly frustrating after waiting for two weeks to hear. There was a very good chance that this sale would fall through, as well - yet we held on, prayed, and hoped that a compromise could be reached.

And it has been! Obviously it's not exactly as we had hoped, but it's enough for us to sell this house and get out, for crying out loud. This house has been very good to us, and we've made some amazing memories, but for the last few months it's begun to feel rather like an albatross. And we are so ready to be rid of it.

So, a new price has been agreed upon, and papers have been signed accordingly. Also new: a planned closing date. August 14th. So that would be in, say, 6 days.

Um, yikes.

Nevertheless, we are getting back into packing mode. Even though we have opened a few boxes in the past few months, the vast majority of it is still packed. Things are in motion for us to begin moving into an apartment that same day. Thankfully, we do have a few days after closing before we need to vacate our house, but I want to be as prepared as I can. The sooner we put this chapter behind us, the better.

All the same, I wonder if I will really believe it until that last form has its signature...

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

never the same

People will say of having children, that afterward things are never the same.

(Jeff, Benjamin, and Mindy - December 18, 2002)

When you become a parent, your life changes dramatically. Gone are the lazy Saturday mornings. Vanished is the possibility of a spontaneous (child-free) date with your spouse. You now schedule appointments, outings, and shopping excursions around your child's schedule - or possibly the financial possibility and availability of a babysitter.

People try to prepare you for the inevitable changes, but nothing they say or do can ever really communicate what it will be like. And of course, different people have different experiences. Mothers endure hormonal shifts, the baby blues, postpartum depression, difficulties with a nursing relationship, seeming to have not enough milk, having far too much milk, engorgement, colicky little ones, babies who eat near-endlessly, quick recoveries, slow and painful recoveries, grief over the birth experience, wonderful births, chubby babies, low-weight babies, sick babies, healthy babies, early sleepers, and sleepless nights that seem endless.

There are mothers with amazing support systems, and mothers who have no support at all. There are mothers with attentive, eager, active husbands, and mothers whose husbands simply don't participate in baby care. There are mothers who are bonded more closely than ever with their baby's father, and mothers whose relationship ends up suffering. There are mothers who spring back to their pre-baby weight effortlessly, and mothers who fight (desperately) for every pound closer they get to those favorite jeans.

Mother - parenting - is complex and intricate. It utilizes every resource, causes you to stretch, strengthens creativity. It changes you.

You can never look at a piece of furniture, or a kitchen knife placed too near the edge of the counter, or a pair of baby socks, in quite the same way again. Something vital and personal has changed...forever.

Becoming a parent means setting aside selfishness and your own agenda, and working for the greater good. It means loving someone else more than you love yourself.

And it's just the beginning.

(Benjamin - December 18, 2002)

Because once we hold this precious new life in our arms, life is never the same. We are never the same. Forever changed - forever learning - seeking to discover just who this little one is, and the person we are becoming because of him. It's a beautiful, trying, stretching process.

And I wouldn't trade it for the world.

17Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. -- James 1:17