Monday, June 28, 2010

"Not Me" Monday

Mckmama- Not Me Monday

It's Monday again, and this Monday means that I'm taking on "Not me" Monday again. For more on the fun and cathartic blog carnival, visit MckMama at her lovely blog, My Charming Kids. Now, on with our regularly scheduled program.

My daughter is s 4 1/2 months old, and I never wince when I lay her down for a nap, and she gives me a look that says "Noooooo! How could you do this to me!" I'm tough like that.

I absolutely didn't buy three new swimming suits for my boys, after having gone 7 1/2 years into motherhood without purchasing a single child's swim suit. No way! Why would I end a streak like that, even if the hand-me-downs were getting awfully raggedy?

Speaking of shopping, while standing in line to buy some new shorts at the outlet mall, I most definitely didn't find myself looking around and thinking "I'm seeing a lot of middle-aged women. Is this a store I should be shopping in? I'm only 33!"

I am absolutely not counting the days until we leave the three older children with their grandparents, and head to the beach. (Only two!)

And you can be certain that, after some trouble getting my freshly-baked loaves of bread out of their pans, I didn't serve my children something I dubbed "Open-Faced Volcano Sandwiches." And said sandwiches definitely didn't consist of hunks of bread slathered with almond butter and strawberry jam. Nope, not me!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

big on love

They may be little...

...but they're big on love.

this boy... quite possibly going to be the class clown someday. Oh, wait - he already is!

...often refers to himself in the 3rd person, calling himself "Owey." using complete sentences, and this wordy mama thrills to hear it.

...loves strawberries. Seriously. I can't think of anything that makes him happier.

...also loves to steal his brothers' stuff and then make a run for it. making another crack at learning to use the potty.

...was knocked down by sheer intimidation when faced with a big dog the other day, but got right back and up and overcame his fears to try again.

...insists that the brown item he sees in the potty in the book Once Upon a Potty is a "yummy cookie." an absolute charmer.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Friday, June 25, 2010

that's my girl!

You're never too young to start pilates.

Good stuff!

the sweetest time of the year

Berry season has arrived! Our family has been fairly delirious, giddy with the joy of sweet, succulent strawberries.

We love them straight out of the bowl.

We love them in a special dessert.

And we definitely love them in a popsicle!
Berry season: decidedly of my favorite things about living in Oregon.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

dear fathers

For the memories, for the legacy, for the laughter...

...for the sacrifices, the loyalty, the example...

...for the tenderness, for the faithfulness...for the love. Thank you. You make it easy for my children and me to love our heavenly Father. You are a blessing!
Happy Father's Day.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

on a break

We are officially on a break from homeschooling! Today was the last day of our "spring" term. We celebrated with buttermilk pancakes, real maple syrup, and the option of remaining in pajamas all day long.

Can I share a dirty little secret with you? Promise you won't laugh? Okay.

I'm afraid of taking a break.

There, I said it. I, who counted down the days to summer vacation as a child. I, who was terrified to take on the job of schooling my children, at home.

Yet there's the truth of it. I have a pit in my stomach even thinking about a vacation from school.

The reasons are varied. Mostly I suppose I'm anxious about losing our momentum. I mean, even after a long weekend it's sometimes hard to get back into the swing of things. Also, we had some structure to our weekdays as things were, and it's a bit hard to imagine what the hours will look like during the next few weeks.

A lot of requests to play the Wii, I imagine.

I know we'll be fine. Whatever ground we lose, we'll get back. The boys are doing great, anyway. And our break is only scheduled for about a month - when I planned out our school year, I did it in three terms, each around 3 months long. It made the most sense with a mid-year move, followed by a new baby (and the following postpartum time). And right now, it feels like a good fit for us.

So it'll be alright. It's just the unknown stretching out before me - there are butterflies in my stomach.

But for now, we're going to enjoy the weeks off, pray for true summer to arrive (it's quite tardy this year), and spend time just relaxing together.

And really, I think that's going to be fine by me!

Friday, June 18, 2010

pajama party!

One evening last week, Benjamin hosted a family pajama party. Actually, he'd been planning it for a week before we were actually able to do it. I suppose the anticipation made the party all the sweeter!

Ben made snacks: Banana-Peanut Butter Roll-Ups. They were a big hit!

Elise enjoyed kickin' back in her nightie.

We watched a video, played "Ring Around the Rosey"...

...and played games.

It was a fun time for all. That Benjamin has some great ideas!

for my fourth child

I know I've posted this before. Still, I was reminded of it yesterday, and I think it bears repeating.

Song for a Fifth Child
by Ruth Hulburt Hamilton

Mother, oh Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing and butter the bread,
Sew on a button and make up a bed.
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.
Oh, I’ve grown shiftless as Little Boy Blue
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
(Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo).
The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew
And out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo
But I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
Look! Aren’t her eyes the most wonderful hue?
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).
The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
For children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

this week

This week, I have been...

...pooped on. apparent target for spit-up.

...peed on.

...ignoring the number on my bathroom scale.

...gnawed upon.

...the recipient of sloppy, wet kisses.

...the recipient of not-so-sloppy kisses.

...tardy in getting Father's Day cards in the mailbox.

...taken for granted.


...loved on.



...relishing motherhood.

...learning to be vulnerable with a group of women I hardly know.

...studying the Word, possibly more than ever before.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Psalm 121

A song of ascents.
1 I lift up my eyes to the hills—
where does my help come from?

2 My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

3 He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;

4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

5 The LORD watches over you—
the LORD is your shade at your right hand;

6 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

7 The LORD will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;

8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

taking offense: part 2

It can happen so easily. We share something we believe, however innocently intended, and - as quickly as that - we've offended someone.

I've seen it happen with alarming frequency, especially on the Internet. But of course it occurs in our more personal interactions as well. When someone states an opinion, or simply gets excited about the direction in which they feel God is leading them, and the next thing you know, someone's feelings are hurt.

Pick a topic, any topic. The hot button issues on birth boards are breastmilk/formula, co-sleeping/crib sleeping, medicated/unmedicated labor, vaginal/surgical childbirth, and so on. The subject of homeschooling gets some people hot under the collar. I even imagine that the statement, "I'm reading Real Food For Mother and Baby, and it's fabulous!" (And I am! What a terrific book.) could be offensive. "Real food? If that's real food, what are you saying about what I'm eating?"

If I say I am tired of carrying the baby weight, someone out there who weighs more than me could feel wounded.

So how do we avoid hurting people's feelings? Or is it even possible to completely avoid it? It would seem that the safest route would be sharing only factual information - but aren't common interests and views a way that we bond with others? Wouldn't the world be a boring place if we only said things like "The sky is blue," as opposed to "I just love that the sky is blue!"

And we do have so much freedom in Christ. There are some things which are non-negotiable, make no mistake. But I believe that in many of the issues involved in parenting, we do have freedom to choose. Whole foods versus processed food? Breast versus bottle? These are not salvation issues.

I do believe that if the Lord calls you to something, and you ignore His voice, it is disobedience. But that's between each individual and God.
17Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins. - James 4:17
So, we have freedom in Christ. Much freedom, praise the Lord! Now the question becomes, how do we use our freedom? Maybe this calls for sensitivity - and empathy.
23"Everything is permissible"—but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible"—but not everything is constructive. 24Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others. - 1 Cor. 10:23-24
Yet there it is again. We are called to consider others. Maybe we can take a little more time to think before we speak. Maybe imagine the view from the other person's shoes. At the very least, our compassion will grow. And as we lay down our own rights, we become more and more like Jesus.
31So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 32Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— 33even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved. - 1 Cor. 10:31-33
I doubt we can avoid offending everyone, all the time. And at times it seems that people are seeking a reason to take offense. You know the old saying, "You can't please everybody, all the time." It probably is truly an impossible task.

Yet we can do our best. And if we bathe our days in prayer, letting the Spirit guide us, we can strive to be a blessing, instead of a stumbling block. That just may be all that God asks of us.

37Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' - Matthew 22:37-39

To read "Taking Offense: Part 1," click HERE.

Monday, June 14, 2010

for better, for worse

Thirteen years ago...


These years have brought us places we never could have imagined in our wildest dreams. And I wouldn't have wanted to live this life with anybody else in the world.

Thank you, my Love. You have my heart, forever!

3I thank my God every time I remember you. - Philippians 1:3

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Saturday, June 12, 2010

a new season at the farmers' market

It's no secret that I love the farmers' market. The colors, the sounds, the sights, excite me. And don't even get me started about all that wonderful fresh produce!

Here's what I picked up today. It was a day drenched in sunshine, and the outing did my heart good.

I almost forgot - we also picked up these hydroponic tomatoes. I've heard mixed things about hydroponics, but these were so gorgeous that I simply couldn't resist. I have a hard time waiting for tomatoes, and I'm the first to admit it!

A few weeks ago, for the opening day, we made it a family outing. (Yes, my children desperately needed sunhats. I realized that about 30 seconds after we parked our van. Don't worry, we picked one up for Elise on that very morning.)

Today marked our first fresh strawberries of the season! We could not be more excited. Berry season has begun!

And now I'm realizing that we must start a Berry Fund. We have savings funds for the CSA, our quarter of grass-fed beef, and coconut oil - but our love for Oregon berries could just about break the bank...

thousand island salad dressing

My favorite salad dressing is Thousand Island. It has been for years. In my Fat-Free Days, I made my own regularly: unfortunately, it called for white sugar, commercial mayonnaise and several other ingredients which I consider undesirable these days. After my food conversion, I feared that Thousand Island and I may have parted ways forever.

But a while back, I decided to try a recipe conversion using real food ingredients. It's costly in terms of my supplies, and it does contain a sweetener (however natural), so I only make it every so often. At my house, the basic salad dressing is this delicious vinaigrette from The Nourishing Gourmet. But for those times when I want a little indulgence, I am glad to have this do-over of my old favorite.

Thousand Island Salad Dressing

1/4 cup hot water
2 T. Rapadura or Sucanat
1/4 t. sea salt

1 c. sugar-free mayonnaise (I supplement with sour cream if I'm low on mayo)
1/4 c. sugar-free ketchup
2 T. white vinegar
2 t. minced onion OR 1/4 t. onion powder
2 dashes black pepper

Dissolve Rapadura and salt in hot water. Add the remaining ingredients, stirring well to combine. Cover and refrigerate to blend.


Friday, June 11, 2010

taking offense: part 1

Offense is something that's been on my mind a lot lately. What should we do when we are the ones who have been offended by fellow believers? Is it ever appropriate to show our displeasure, or does it pretty much always lead to discord? And what are our responsibilities as far as striving to not offend other people?

As a Christian, I try to use the Bible as my guide. I say "try" because I don't always seek it out as often as I should. I tend to stew. I sometimes mutter, and I write - because I often find it's easier for me to work things out through the written word.

When I've been offended, it seems that it would be natural for me to express my unhappiness about it. After all, shouldn't we be able to get things off our chests, to be honest about it? In an ideal world, perhaps. If we could lay down our defenses, our rights, our feelings of entitlement. If we could have pure motives, and always assume positive intent.

But we're not in a perfect world. And it's painfully obvious at times. So I went digging. Here are a few verses I found in my NIV:

A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.
-Proverbs 19:11
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. -Romans 12:18
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. -Colossians 3:15
Gulp. Really? Do I have to? Must my first response be denying my own rights, roll over and play dead...become the proverbial doormat?

Consider Jesus' words:
For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. - Luke 14:10-12

Humility. Sometimes it rankles. Certainly it rankles. But let's also consider Jesus' example:

5Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
6Who, being in very naturea]">[a] God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
7but made himself nothing,
taking the very natureb]">[b] of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
-Philippians 2:5-8

When we consider how the very Son of God chose to humble himself (for us, the worst of sinners), it sheds a new light on the subject. And He is known as the Prince of Peace. The verses preceding that last passage say this:
3Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. - Philippians 2:3-4 (emphasis mine)

So how do we find that balance? How do we establish healthy boundaries, protect ourselves from unhealthy relationsohips...and yet strive for peace in our interactions with others? Is it really possible to have those boundaries without seeming to invite discord?

I am still really wrestling with that. In the meantime, here is more food for thought:
The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. -Psalm 103:8

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. - Prov. 15:1

A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control. -Prov. 29:11

My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry... - James 1:19

So I suppose what it boils down to is really trying to assume positive intent. I must remind myself that there are (at least) two sides to every story, and that maybe, if we can assume that the person who has offended us meant well, it really can work out peaceably. It seems that if we want to be godly, Christlike people, we really do need to learn to turn the other cheek when we've been slighted.

I'll close with a paraphrase of something I heard Beth Moore say recently, on a DVD. She said something to the effect of "The Enemy is the author of every offense." This statement really struck a chord with me. If we can remember that the Lord's desire is for believers to enjoy peace and unity, we would do well to beware that the Enemy's goal is for the exact opposite.

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. - Romans 14:19

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this subject. I'm really just mulling over this stuff, trying to find some answers to questions that have come up lately. So...what do you think?

In "taking offense: part 2," I'll take on the challenging subject of how we might share our opinions without offending anyone, or whether it's even possible. Stay tuned to see if I've wrestled any answers out of all my questions!

a toddler's prayer

(as translated from Owen's 2-year-old pronunciations)


Mommy Daddy Mommy Daddy Mommy Mommy Mommy

Daddy Daddy Ben Kyle Ben kyle Ben Kyle house


Thursday, June 10, 2010

cooking lessons: an update

The big boys and I have continued on in our "cooking lessons." After our first venture, making graham crackers, we've delved into pizza (complete with a soaked crust), raw milk ice cream, lemonade, and (homemade, of course) chocolate pudding.

We're having fun, although relinquishing some control in the kitchen is still a stretch for me. But I'm getting there, and Benjamin and Kyle are getting some good experience.

I was thrilled to recently discover a homeschooling textbook written by a Real Food blogger! Originally offered for high school-aged kids, next month Kristen Michaelis at Food Renegade will be offering Real Food Nutrition and Health For Kids, which is targeted for children ages 3-8! I could not be more pleased or excited. We will definitely be adding this to our school time!

(fresh Lemonade, sweetened with stevia)

In the meantime we'll keep plugging along. Next on the list are nut butter, coconut bark, noodles, french fries, butter, and...the things they want to make goes on and on and on! Pray for me, people...