Saturday, October 31, 2009

woman sings while in labor

ETA: I just noticed that YouTube has been down for maintenance today. Sorry about that; hopefully things will be up and running soon.

I've had childbirth on my mind quite a bit lately. A lot, in fact. I've been reading birth stories, and watching my own boys' births on video, over and over. Though I've got months to go before my time comes, I am dreaming of the day when my little one arrives.

Some of you may have seen this before, but in honor of my "feeling birthy" of late, I decided to share it here. It moves me to tears, every single time I watch it.

farewell to the farmers' market

Today marked the end of the farmers' market until next year. I'll miss it dreadfully. In spite of many rainy weekends during the past few months, I went by there on as many Saturdays as I could manage it.

It'll be much more of a challenge to find local produce during the winter and spring. I do have a few ideas, though. I'm blessed to know of a local farm stand not far from here, and I'm told they'll be open through December. There's a place near the new house which may be selling for a bit longer. And we have a few grocery stores around here (including a tiny natural foods market with impressive customer service) where I may be able to find some local items.

On this particular Saturday, after doing battle with the flu which has attacked my boys for most of the week, I am now feeling under the weather, myself. So Jeff gallantly offered to go in my stead. What would I do without that guy?

He came away, arms loaded with a huge sack of potatoes, luscious red grapes (what a treat!), apples, carrots, and an enormous butternut squash. And then he went to the grocery store. What a prince! We'll be sitting pretty for the rest of the week, and then some.

I'll miss heading there on Saturday mornings, no doubt about it. I'll miss the fabulous prices, the festive atmosphere, the friendly faces, and the fresh local fare.

But I know that our beloved farmers' market will return in the spring. It may be a little tentative at first, but before long there'll be tender asparagus, leafy heads of lettuce, fresh Oregon berries, peaches, and so much more. It'll all be back.

And so will I.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

egg hunt, in autumn

I've run into a little problem lately.

Finding a good place to buy eggs has been quite a challenge.

In the months since I wrote this post, that particular source hasn't worked out. She never seems to have eggs on the days when I stop by her house; there's generally a handwritten note on the porch which reads something to the effect of "No eggs today, will have some tomorrow." This really doesn't work for me. So, I've set out to find different sources.

Until recently, I bought eggs every week from a friend who lives in a town up toward the mountain. I stopped by once a week after I would pick up our CSA basket. But the CSA program is finished for the year. I can't rationalize making the drive up all those windy roads on a weekly basis now. And to top it off, her hens seem to be "laying off," if you'll pardon the pun. The last few times I've asked about it, she hasn't had any eggs available for me.

Sometimes the farm where I buy our raw milk has a few dozen eggs available. But more often than not, the shelf under the "Eggs" sign is empty. This isn't a reliable source for me, either.

And I need reliability. Our family really likes eggs.

A few months ago, I noticed a yellow sign along the route for my "milk run." In painted red letters, it announced, "BROWN EGGS." I pulled in, and since then I've been getting a dozen eggs or so from there fairly often. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the eggs - nice orange yolks. Good stuff! When my friend's supply tapered off, I figured I'd start buying more from the couple who live in the trailer with the yellow sign. But lately they've been having less and less eggs available, and last week there weren't any. None at all.

I really prefer to purchase my eggs from an individual, as opposed to a grocery store. I feel that I'm getting a better product, at a better price. Also, I like to support "the little guy" when I can. And so the quest continued.

Two weeks ago, I started taking a slightly different route on my milk run. It goes right by our new house, and is more of a straight route south. What should I find, two mere minutes from our future home, but a sign which read "Fresh Eggs." I had stopped last week, but received no answer to my knock.

Yet this week, I tried again. Driving back to the apartment after picking up the milk, I had struck out. There was even a place which had a sign up a few weeks ago, and I'd hoped to try there. But the sign was gone now. Every single source had come up dry. I had nary an egg to show for myself, and I'd used our very last egg that very morning.

And this time, someone answered the door. Did she have any eggs available? She did have some, two dozen eggs...and what's more, she gave me her card. She usually isn't home during the day, but she said to call ahead and she could leave them out for me. Her 40 hens are laying well enough at the moment.

Of course, this source could dry up for a while, too. The weather is colder every day. Winter is coming on, and that may well put a dent in my egg-buying plans. Nevertheless, it feels like a good start. And this place is a mere two minutes from the new house. I walked back to my van with a spring in my step. I had a good feeling; this could be the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

Besides, the yolks? Are gorgeously orange.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

these are a few of my favorite links

Being the giving person that I am, I thought I'd take a moment to share a few of my favorite links with you.

Many of the beloved recipes I've found online can be found on the right border of my blog. You'll just need to scroll down until you see "Recipes." A few are mine, a few are ones I've posted about, but most are those which I have tried, and of which I heartily approve! It's handy for me to have links for them readily available, and I hope you enjoy yourselves if you venture to try any.


Waterbirth International

This site is dedicated to educating readers about waterbirth, by one of the pioneers in the field: Barbara Harper. At this site you'll find FAQs, resources, birth stories, and more.

Birth Pool in a Box

The best birthing tub EVER. I can tell you this from personal experience.

Spinning Babies

This website addresses ways to encourage your baby to settle into the optimal position for giving birth. Thankfully I haven't had any lasting problems with fetal positioning, but I've been mindful of these techniques during my last few pregnancies, and try to recline as little as possible.

This is a great company, located here in Portland. They have a wonderful selection of cloth diapers and other natural baby (and mama) items, and they have excellent customer service. I've been nothing short of tickled pink every time I've dealt with this company.


Ice Cream (Vanilla or Chocolate) from Kelly the Kitchen Kop
After receiving the longed-for Cuisinart 1 1/2-Quart Automatic Ice Cream Maker for my birthday last month (thanks, Honey!), the search for the perfect recipe began. I resisted this particular recipe because I found the ingredients a bit costly for such a small amount of ice cream. But I am now a believer! Using real maple syrup instead of sugar, this creamy concoction delighted our entire family. I've also tried adding mix-ins, which has worked out well so far. But the vanilla recipe itself is simply scrumptious!

Soaked Whole-Wheat Tortillas
After discovering that you can soak tortilla dough to make delicious, healthy tortillas at home, I doubt I'll ever buy the store-bought variety again. These are soft, delicious, and nourishing. A big hit around here.

Delicious, Sugar-free Lemonade
from The Nourishing Gourmet
It's not exactly "lemonade weather" right now, but I thoroughly enjoyed this recipe during the warmer months. I'm well aware that the lemons I bought were not local, yet I could hardly resist when it was so hot. This recipe is sweetened with stevia (beware: you'll only need a little) and is utterly refreshing when you really want something other than water to sip. And, you guessed it: our entire family loved it.

Braised Cabbage
from The Nourishing Gourmet
As a lifelong cabbage-avoider, no one was more surprised than I to discover this delicious recipe. The best thing about it is that it's incredibly simple to simply requires a little planning. My husband and I adore this recipe, and I think the boys are getting there. They do eat the deliciously tender, sweet carrots which are sprinkled atop the cabbage.


To Your Health Sprouted Flour Co.

I was so pleased with this company. My order also came with a dozen or so recipes...all friendly to the Nourishing Traditions (Weston A. Price Foundation) style of eating! Talk about hitting the jackpot.

New England Cheesemaking Supply Co.
I desperately want to learn to make cheese! I am definitely putting a few of these kits on my Christmas list.


Cheeseslave : no-nonsense blogger AnnMarie offers a mouthwatering array of recipes, along with thoughts on striving for health in today's culture.

Food Renegade : tackling society's perceptions, Kristen is a voice advocating Real Food.

: with a positive, honest voice, blogger Wardeh embraces "God's Natural, Organic, Whole Foods, Grown Locally, In Season." She offers tutorials, videos, recipes, resources, and more.

Kelly the Kitchen Kop
: Kelly shares candidly about her various endeavors in the kitchen. She also offers food-related news and pertinent links and tidbits.

Passionate Homemaking : This wonderful blog is a delightful mix of recipes, tips for responsible and green living, and Biblical womanhood. Lindsay is a refreshing, challenging writer, and I am blessed each time I visit her blog.

The Nourishing Gourmet : One of the reasons I enjoy Kimi's blog so much is that she offers so many delicious, healthy desserts and treats. Yet there's so much more to her website - information, tips, ideas on being frugal in the kitchen, and lessons on how we can learn from history. This is one blog I return to again and again and again.

Well, I hope something I've shared here has been helpful. These links have proven so usef
ul for me, and I'm very grateful to the website owners and authors for all their hard work. We can definitely learn from one another's experiences, and my journey is richer thanks to these.

Monday, October 26, 2009

a gray day at the pumpkin patch

This weekend we enjoyed an annual visit to our favorite pumpkin patch. The weather was gray and soggy, but we were very thankful that it didn't actually rain while we were there. God was gracious to us, no doubt about it!

I'm going to spare you the Pumpkin Patch Extravaganza of last year, and just post all my photos in one fell swoop. Hope it's not too overwhelming!

Here are the boys and I, about to set off on a hay rack ride. Kyle was so tickled to learn that he and our driver/host share the same name. Picture a theatrical gasp, followed by a dropped jaw. The Other Kyle saw it and said "Same name, huh?" He smiled. "Well...I had it first."

Our annual photo:
Benjamin and Kyle were impressed by the tractors. Ben said "Kyle, that wheel is bigger than you are!"

Checking out the animals in their pens~
Time to choose pumpkins! Kyle was determined to be the master of his own wheelbarrow.

So of course, Owen needed to give it a whirl, too.
Some of those suckers are pretty heavy!

Owen, picking a pumpkin. Or not. Ben ended up choosing for him: a small, charming white one.
That's all, folks!

"Not me!" Monday

You know it. Another Monday, another bout of "Not me!" It is, of course, the fun and cathartic blog carnival invented by MckMama over at My Charming Kids. Check out her blog! She's pretty charming, too.

There is no way that I was a teensy bit relieved that we didn't have Friday School last week. Nope, not me! I never feel that it's a challenge to get my brood out of the house by 8:45 AM, and I am never thrilled to not have to go out in the rain.

I certainly don't have to suppress a giggle every time I see Kyle in his Eeyore costume. And I find nothing humorous about Eeyore doing math.

Nothing at all.

On our way to the pumpkin patch on a dreary Sunday afternoon, we absolutely were able to resist stopping by the house. And if we had, we would have been impervious to the charms of newly-hung drywall.

And if we had stopped by the house, and were so pressed for time, I certainly wouldn't have gone over to meet a future neighbor who came outside for a moment. Even if she is pregnant. With triplets. Who will almost certainly be born within a month or so. And I'm sure we wouldn't have had a lovely conversation...

And I definitely didn't discover that I had an actual pout on my face on Friday, after learning that a friend of mine was going out for pizza...while I was home cooking chicken soup - which didn't appeal to me at all just then. But if I did, I would've laughed at myself immediately!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

"How was school today?"

This is not a question I ask my children.

The reason, of course, is that I'm right there with them when they're having school. If I'm not actively teaching, I'm nearby. If it's been a tough, frustrating day, I know about it. If there's been a breakthrough, I know about it. And if it was a day when schoolwork was absolutely chucked out, I certainly know about that too.

Today, in our second week of the school year, was a particularly good day. I can't tell you how encouraging that is to me. I never wanted to teach. I've known for years that teaching is not my gift. I've never had a desire to homeschool. There's no one more surprised than I that we've arrived at this place. Believe me.

Our "schedule" varies, but this particular day went something like this:

7:35 AM - Wake up the children. Note a cheerful, energetic Kyle, alongside a grumpy, slowly-moving Benjamin. used to always be the other way around. Methinks that Ben has been staying up too late, whereas Kyle has (astoundingly!) decided to go right to sleep the past couple of nights. It's a bummer when you stay up past your bedtime, and then Mama doesn't let you sleep in...

8:05 AM- Breakfast is served. Kyle sits at the table; Ben is missing. Owen, Kyle and I happily consume cheesy scrambled eggs, almond butter toast, and ripe, sliced pear, and raw milk.

8:28 AM - I go tell Benjamin that "Breakfast will be served for 10 more minutes. Feel free to join us after you're dressed." He shows up with 5 minutes to eat what is still remaining on the table. Poor kid missed out on the eggs today.

8:33 AM - Clearing places, cleaning up the kitchen, washing hands and faces, brushing teeth, combing hair, changing a diaper.

9:00 AM - Science: I am so thrilled to actually start at a better time today! We begin our series on Creation Day One. I read the Genesis account, and we talk about different kinds of light (candle, electric, sun). The boys design a chapter title page for their Science notebooks. I settle Owen in with a piece of yellow construction paper and a purple crayon. He decorates the dining room table.

9:30 AM - I propose a short Wii break. Ben and Kyle each have a turn on the Wii Fit Plus (does this count as P.E.?), while I work on the treats I'm taking to tonight's Bible study group.

9:45 AM - Reading: group time. Benjamin is on fire! And Kyle is reading sentences. I really like our curriculum, happily enough.

10:15 AM - Individual work time. Ben does his reading workbook, while Kyle works on his pre-K activity book. Owen (still in his pajamas) sits in an easy chair, thumbing through Sandra Boynton's "But Not the Hippopotamus." I work on my pumpkin bars, pausing many times to assist the young gentlemen at the table.

10:45 AM - Transition. I change another diaper. Kyle changes into his Eeyore costume. Ben transforms into a Power Ranger.

10:50 AM - Math. We practice translating between written numbers, spoken numbers, numbers on tally sticks, numbers represented on fingers, and the abacus. Owen exits his brothers' bedroom wielding a plastic hunting knife. I introduce some games. I am amazed at how well Kyle is keeping up with the first grade work, when I'd been letting him "tag along." Owen attempts to deconstruct the kitchen.

11:30 AM - We are done with school for the day! I prepare lunch, and the boys play in the living room.

Owen did okay today, but I'm still a bit at a loss as to what to do with him. He is such a sweet, easygoing kid, but I feel that I'm neglecting him a bit when we're doing our morning work. I've thought about something like Tot School, but honestly I can just imagine him barely touching the materials I've prepared for him. That sounds awfully self-defeating, I suppose. I know I have at least two homeschooling mamas with young children out there. How do you occupy/engage your toddler when you're attending to the older ones?

Overall, I am very pleased with how our school year is going so far. I feel that the first few weeks have been setting the foundation, and now we're going to be moving into some really interesting stuff. And it's so exciting that I get to go right along on the educational "ride"!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

the gender thing

As you may know, my husband and I have chosen to wait for our baby's birth to find out whether our child a boy or a girl.

In fact, that's what we usually do. People will say, incredulously, "You don't want to know?!" It's not that we don't want to know...we want to know, just not yet. I am as interested as the next person (well, I'm sure I'm quite a bit more interested, actually) as to what the gender of our baby is. It isn't as though we don't care.

We just find it such a payoff, so much fun to have that surprise: to labor through, to put in the time, to do the work... And then to be rewarded with meeting our baby, and learning the news. It's then that we really begin the process of discovering just who s/he is. And what a journey!

There was one instance when Jeff and I opted to "find out," though. It was during my second pregnancy. Benjamin was an active 2-year-old, and we were so excited to have a baby on the way. Jeff would have preferred to wait for the surprise of discovering our baby's sex at birth, but I just really wanted to know. I'm still not sure quite why. But somehow, that time, I wanted to know right then.

And in a way, it was fun to know. There I was, pregnant with Kyle Warren, and stocking up on the blue. When we were expecting Ben, we'd had all the baby showers before he was born...and there was a lot of yellow and green. A lot. I grew so weary of yellow and green. Aren't there other gender-neutral colors? There was evidently a shortage in 2002. So it was really fun to be able to buy and receive clothes that were unabashedly boyish. To know.

All the same, there was a dark side to that knowledge. I had several people say things like "Oh...I'm sorry you're having another boy." What? How inconsiderate. How rude. And again, when I was expecting Owen (and his gender was unknown at the time), an acquaintance who gave great credit to her "intuition" once laid her hand on my arm and said "I'm really sorry to tell you this, but you're having another boy." Excuse me? How insulting! And how arrogant. How dare they?!

I've grown fiercely protective of my boys. They're wonderful, fun-loving, full of life. I wouldn't trade them for an army of girls. As much as I would enjoy mothering a little girl someday, I believe that my family has been crafted by God, and that each addition is the perfect new member for our household, male or female.

The subject of a baby's gender was one I thought about a lot during my last pregnancy. I keenly remembered the perceived insults to my precious little ones. There's little doubt in my mind that they played a big part in my resolve to wait for my third time around.

I challenge anyone to see a healthy, thriving babe in my arms, and offer me anything like pity.

Another factor for me is the stories I've heard about being told the wrong gender by an ultrasound technician. I know it's rare, but it does happen. In fact, it's happened to people I know. I really think that would be incredibly plan and prepare, to refer to the baby by name, perhaps...and then find out that the baby wasn't the child I thought. I would imagine I'd even mourn for the child I'd grown to love. Regardless of boy or girl, I believe I would have a really hard time with that.

But truly, more than any of these things, my husband and I love the surprise. The wondering, the dreaming. The knowing that God has a wonderfully secret gift planned, but the gift is still in its wrappings.

I'm not trying to convince you that it's better to "not find out." Everyone is different, and a lot of people choose to discover their baby's gender during pregnancy. I'm always excited to hear a friend's news when they've been to their Big Ultrasound. Different people do things in different ways.

But these are the reasons that Jeff and I have chosen the other path. To have the big surprise happen in the moments just after birth. To revel in the uncertainty, the mystery, the wondering.

To wait for it.

Spiced Pumpkin Bread

I love pumpkin bread. Also pumpkin muffins, cookies, and the like. I imagine that you get the idea here. If it's pumpkin, and it's baked, I'm pretty much there.

So this year, I've been seeking a nourishing recipe for pumpkin bread. Nourishing Traditions doesn't have one, and although I've tried to adapt Sally Fallon's Banana Bread recipe to accommodate pumpkin... it hasn't worked out too well.

As I understand it, there are two ways avoid the anti-nutrients found in whole wheat flour. (Read more about this here.) The first method, the one I've used the most, is to soak the grains in water and an acidic medium (cultured buttermilk, kefir, whey, lemon juice, or vinegar). This method works great for things like pancakes, noodles, even yeasted bread. But it is a bit limited, and my results in the pumpkin bread department were less than stellar.

So let's move on to method number two: using sprouted flour. This, as I comprehend it, is where the whole grains are soaked, dried, and then ground into flour. It seems to be a bit more of an intensive process, but the resulting flour can be used in an infinite number of ways...and no anti-nutrients.

Having no ready access to a grain mill, a few months ago I ordered some of this glorious stuff from the To Your Health Sprouted Flour Co. It arrived in mid-September, and it's been so much fun to play around with my baking! And it's led me to develop an utterly delicious, and nourishing, recipe for pumpkin bread.

Spiced Pumpkin Bread
(Yields 2 loaves)

3 c. sprouted whole wheat flour
2 c. Rapadura or Sucanat (unrefined, whole brown sugar)

2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. aluminum-free baking powder
1 t. sea salt
1 t. pumpkin pie spice
1 t. cinnamon
2 c. pumpkin puree
2/3 c. coconut oil
3 eggs, beaten

Preheat the oven to 350* F. Grease two 9x5 loaf pans.

First, you'll need melted coconut oil. Place the coconut oil in a glass container, and set in a pan of simmering/warm water. You'll want to melt it gently and slowly.

Meanwhile, combine the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, spices) in a large mixing bowl. Then add pumpkin, melted coconut oil, and beaten eggs. Mix well.

Transfer to the two prepared loaf pans. Bake 1 hour or until a toothpick comes out clean. After removing from the oven, let the loaves rest in their pans for 15 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.


Monday, October 19, 2009

Benjamin's picture

My Ben asked if he could use the chalkboard to draw a picture. I said yes, and he had it turned around while he worked on his masterpiece. When he invited me to see it, this is what I saw:

This kind of thing makes me so happy.

"Not me!" Monday

Greetings, everyone! It's Monday, and you know what that means. Well, what it usually means. Sometimes it doesn't end up meaning that. But this week, it does. That's right, it's "Not me!" Monday, the confessional blog carnival of MckMama's. Head on over to her blog, My Charming Kids, for some refreshing honesty today...and every day.

When my 19-month-old comes to me with the message "Poo-py," I absolutely never respond with an "Okay, Owen...go tell Daddy!" Nope, not me!

I am certainly not immeasurably relieved that beginning our homeschooling year has resulted in far less Benjamin/Kyle fighting. Because kids are kids. A little bickering would never drive me to near distraction...

While discussing our week of doing school with another mom on Friday, definitely did not refer to my 19-month-old as having "been a pill" during school time. No way. He's always utterly charming...and even if he weren't, I would never use such a word to refer to my child.

I definitely haven't been putting off making both Owen's 18-month-old, and Kyle's 4-year-old well-child appointments with the pediatrician. The thought of a Vaccine Discussion never fills me with dread, nor am I actively avoiding the potentially germy waiting room during cold and flu season. In fact, I am not considering bailing on the pedi altogether, and heading straight for a naturopath.

Along the same lines, I am not again behind on writing thank-you notes. No way, not me! I definitely do not have a good dozen thank-yous to write, but which I am putting off because I despise writing thank-you notes. You can never find me procrastinating.

You can also never find me daydreaming about the New House. I am firmly planted in this cramped apartment, and you can be assured that I am blooming furiously. I absolutely never walk around muttering, "I hate this place..."

I am not completely heartbroken that my maternity sweaters are still missing in action. The fact that there's a definite chill (and sometimes bite) in the air here certainly doesn't make me long for my roomy, cozy sweaters. Their absence doesn't bother me at all.

Lastly, I was not utterly thrilled to hear the welcome news that my very first nephew was born on Tuesday! I am not the least bit excited to welcome baby Miles to the world, and I definitely am not hoping that I can meet him in the not-too-distant future.
(He is completely adorable, though! I cannot tell a lie.)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

October 15

Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. Women, men, and families across North America are remembering the loss of an unknowable number of precious babies.

Many of you know that the loss of my baby, Riley Jordan - who, though I was only 11 1/2 weeks into the pregnancy, was a baby - in January of 2007 affected me deeply. It left a mark on me which I will always carry.

Sadly, the premature end of pregnancy isn't uncommon. In fact, if you haven't experienced it, the odds are that someone you love has. Still, it often isn't discussed. People don't know what to say, so they tend to not say anything at all. But as time has gone on, I've realized more and more that these tragedies affect so many. And those whose lives have been touched by a little soul who flew away so soon...we will never forget.

In memory of those precious little ones who left our lives unexpectedly, I invite you to light a candle tonight at 7 PM. Keep it burning for an hour. This is for all time zones, all over the world. Let's come together in an "International Wave of Light," to honor those whom our arms will never hold. Those whose faces will never grace our tables, whose knees we will never kiss and bandage. Let's remember those sweet babies...and let's pray for one another as we do. Time may not heal all wounds, but God offers us peace and comfort. We can know that our little ones are safe in His hands.

If you'd like more information about Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, click HERE. And if you'd like to share about a loss in the comments section below, I invite you to do that. There's a beauty in calling our little ones by name, and sharing their stories.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

the first day of school

The boys and I started out our school year this week. I decided to take a few photos before we began on Monday morning. Benjamin, 1st grader. Kyle, preschooler. And...

...Owen, interrupter extraordinaire. Yes, that's right. My charming, darling boy has been quite a pill during school time. He's feeling a bit left out, I suppose. I'll be thinking on that one.

I kid you not, I got 3 1/2 words into the very first lesson of the very first day, and Owen fell off of a chair and bonked his head. Three and a half words. And that's not the half of it.

But he was so funny, the way he insisted on standing for the pictures with his brothers and saying "Cheez."

Last spring our school days consisted of a hodge podge of materials...from my makeshifts attempt at Montessori materials, to ending with a few workbooks I'd picked up at local teachers' supply store. But this year we're a bit more organized. I decided to give the Charlotte Mason method a whirl. So far, I'm really liking it.

Here are the big boys working on their science assignment. Our first lesson consisted of reading through the story of Creation, and after each day, they drew a picture to describe what they'd heard.

We've also been working on reading and math so far. I'm really pleased with how it's going. And...tomorrow, we get to get out the abacus!

I can hardly wait.

Monday, October 12, 2009

"Not me!" Monday

Here we go again! After a little vacation-induced break, "Not me" Monday is back. "Not me" Monday is, of course, the gorgeous blog carnival hosted by MckMama over at My Charming Kids. Hop on over to her place for more Monday not me-ing!

A week after returning home from my relaxing cruise vacation, I definitely didn't feel the need to flee the apartment, solo, on Sunday afternoon. Surely the after-effects of such a luxurious vacation are further-reaching than a week? And anyway, I would definitely not have found solace in shopping for little boys' socks and underwear, all by my lonesome. I mean...really!

But if I had fled the apartment that afternoon, I would certainly have left a good selection of snacks behind. I absolutely wouldn't have suggested that my husband feed one of the children sardines for his snack. What kind of mother would do that? Even if she has one particular child who loves sardines?!

I certainly didn't secretly snicker when I recently heard my 4-year-old singing "O Come, let us ignore Him," to the tune of a cherished Christmas hymn. I mean, that's just terrible.

While using our brand-spanking-new Wii Fit, I for sure didn't doubt that I was getting much of a work out, only to find myself with desperately sore thighs the next day. I absolutely don't groan every time I lower myself onto a chair, the floor, or the toilet. No way!

As a homeschooling mom with a good 7 months of experience under her belt, I am not at all nervous about starting out school year this week. Nope, not me! I have no doubt that I will easily be able to instill in my children a love of learning, an awe of God's creation, and a downright enthusiasm for math. And I'm not at all hoping that having more organized activities for my boys will quell their recently incessant fighting.

I totally did not decide that it was time to make another batch of chicken stock, only after realizing that I had accumulated quite an impressive collection of frozen chicken carcasses. It would be silly to collect the remains of so much roasted poultry without making stock at more, er...reasonable intervals.

And despite the fact that my maternity sweaters have tragically gone MIA, I certainly didn't go sweater shopping this weekend. Even if there is a definite nip in the air. I'm always perfectly happy to wear a t-shirt. Or my husband's sweatshirt. Or, you know, a plastic garbage bag. Whatever.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

towel creations: a turn-down treat

While on the cruise ship, each night the staff would come in to do turn-down service. They'd also leave a little surprise in the form of a towel creation. I thought it would be fun to share them here.

This first guy is a little confusing. I think he's supposed to be a gorilla. Except that he seems to have big ears. (*shrug*)

A pig (he delivered our shore excursion tickets, dear thing).

A rabbit. Cause, you know, rabbits are always hopping around on ships.

One very cool elephant. Also very common on the Mexican Riviera. ;)

The terrifying brontosaurus...

A very cheeky seal

A lovely rose

And Jeff is now becoming a towel creation artist as well! Here is his first attempt: a deer.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


It's been a few days now since we returned home on Sunday. There has been time to run errands, work on the laundry, and get back into the swing of cooking again. (I must get out of the habit of sitting down at the table and expecting someone to bring me food!) We've made a much-anticipated trip to the new house. My eyes have turned from the dazzling sights to which they'd grown accustomed, and I'm growing adjusted to autumn weather as opposed to intense heat. We are getting back to normal, no doubt about it.

I'm not finished posting about our trip, but for now I thought I'd share a list for you....

~Memorable Moments~
  • Wishing I had had LASIK done before we went snorkeling.
  • Watching an elegant man in a tuxedo staking out seats in the ship's theater, while toting around an empty Gatorade bottle. Incongruous!
  • On the beach at Mazatlan (see the photo above), every 40 seconds, if I wanted to buy a bracelet, hat, dress, toy, Corona Beer towel, etc.
  • Men in a Mexican band where we were having lunch, performing the song "Brown-Eyed Girl" in Spanish.
  • The novelty of being exposed to many of the 56 nationalities represented by the staff on our ship.
  • The apparently great flexibility of traffic laws in Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta.
  • Sitting on a hammock on a sunny beach while listening to my 4-year-old describe (via cell phone) all the different animals he'd just seen during a visit to the Oregon Zoo with his grandparents. "And...[aside] hey guys...did we see giraffes? Guys, did we see giraffes? [to me] and we didn't see any giraffes today..."

Friday, October 2, 2009

more "postcards"

Greetings, worthy readers!

We're still cruising, but I thought I'd share a few more shots.

Here is a photo of Jeff and I on Cruise Elegant night. All dressed up, finished with dinner, and waiting for the show to start. Jeff was a gentleman enough to offer me his jacket.

This boat brought us to Las Caletas, an hour from Puerto Vallarta. Check out that gorgeous water!

As two Oregon residents, swimming in warm ocean water was such a novelty!
Sadly, we didn't get any photos of Jeff and I in our snorkeling gear. And you know what? I'm okay with that. It was super cool, though!

Back in the city of Puerto Vallarta, the view from our restaurant's balcony. We dined and watched the sun set over the water.