Sunday, September 26, 2010

Kyle is 5!

Yes, it's true! Mr. Personality is now a whopping 5 years old. How can it be?

It's been a wild ride since my second son came bursting into the world, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. Kyle is such a light in our lives.

We love you, buddy. Happy birthday, my darling Kyle!

Saturday, September 25, 2010


1) Me: "Are you finished with your dinner, Kyle?"
Kyle: "Unfortunately, no."

2) Ben, when told to look like he was enjoying himself for a photo: "I am enjoying myself. And I'm enjoying my pancake, too!"

3) Kyle: You seem to have an owie, Elise. Let me get you my "sickness donut."

4) Ben: "Mom, I think Elise is crying because she's sad that she doesn't have a sister..."

5) Owen, after being called Cutie Patootie: "I not 'utie a-ootie. I Oh-ee!" (points at forehead).

Friday, September 24, 2010

the famous pillow pets

Advertising. It's everywhere. And even children are quite susceptible to it. Case in point: we extended our cable last spring, and the boys fell in love with a certain children's television station. Before this, they'd mostly watched PBS when it came to TV. But this station had cute programs and so, with limits in place, we allow them to watch it.

Enter commercials.

Is it any wonder that they're called commercials? They are geared toward making a profit, and those advertising people are good at what they do.

And the plain truth is, my boys fell in love with Pillow Pets.

"Mom! It can be a pillow, or a pet!"

"When we go visit Grandma and Grandpa's house, we wouldn't have to take a pillow and a lovey. Just one, and it's a pillow too!"

"Mom, 'Just one touch is all it takes, and your child or grandchild will fall in love with his Pillow Pet!'"

"And, they're machine washable!"

You get the idea.

After months of changing the subject, it seems they weren't going to forget about this. So when Jeff spotted a display of the famous Pillow Pets in a local store, the wheels were set in motion.

I should say here that Ben and Kyle receive "compensation" (along the lines of allowance, but as per Dave Ramsey's suggestions). They both had some money saved, and when Jeff asked them if they wanted to spend part of their savings on Pillow Pets, they were so excited.

And they decided to each chip in $10, to buy one for their little brother too.

It's been fun to watch them. Ben was incredibly sweet, and even lent me his Bumblebee to sleep with on the night of my birthday.

It was pretty soft.

A week after their initial purchase, Benjamin and Kyle put their heads -and money- together again. This time, too, they bought with someone else in mind.

Yes, Elise now has her very own Pillow Pet. A pink-and-purple Unicorn. Because, you know...she's a girl.

She's not quite sure what to think of it yet, but her brothers are as pleased as punch. And when she gets older, I'll tell her the story of how they wanted to include her in their snugly, playful fun.

And in the meantime, my boys are learning that maybe, just maybe, it really is more fun to give than to receive.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

kitchen projects

This year, summertime meant some fun new things in my kitchen endeavors. I've had several projects going, and thought I'd take a minute to share a little about them.

The most exciting, I think, is learning to brew Kombucha at home! Jeff and I have been enjoying this refreshing, healthful beverage for several years now. It's a bit pricey to buy at the store, though, and when a friend offered to give me a SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast) - also called a "mushroom," so that I could make my own, I jumped at it.

I followed the directions in Nourishing Traditions (also found here), and found an excellent explanation of how to flavor the Kombucha here (think summer berries...yum!). We have all been loving this beverage. It's such a nice alternative to soda! The boys absolutely love it.

Another project has been learning to make lacto-fermented vegetables. You've already heard about my bread and butter pickles. I also dabbled in dills, lacto-fermented beets, and most recently, lacto-fermented berry preserves.

And last but not least, I finally did it. I defrosted, cut up, ground, cooked, served, and ate beef heart. Yup! And what's more, it was good. Here's what I did: I mixed 1/2 a pound of ground beef heart (thank you, food processor!) with regular ground grass-fed beef for a meatloaf. I did not inform my children of the addition, though my husband knew every detail. The results? Those of us who like meatloaf, finished what we were served and had another helping. Those who don't like meatloaf (one picky soul), didn't like it. But no surprises there!

For the rest of the ground heart, I again mixed it with ground grass-fed beef for a hearty pasta sauce. It was delicious! Next time, I'd like to add more tomatoes to the mix, but beyond that, I'd do it all again in a heartbeat. (ba-dum-ching!)

Yep, it was an adventurous summer in my kitchen. I have no idea what the fall and winter will bring, but I'm looking forward to finding out!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

motherhood has taught me...

~There will always, always be more crumbs.

~It is unwise to trust a toddler alone in the bathroom.

~The sight of a toddler and baby playing "together" is precious.

~It may not be worth it to change clothes, even after being baptized in baby spit-up.

~One can never be truly caught up on laundry.

~A cranky expression on a two-year-old's face can be downright adorable.

~It can be very pleasant to cook with one's son.

~It can be very unpleasant to toilet train.

~Three boys + four days of camping = a whole stinking lot of little boy laundry.

~Two boys + soccer season = a whole stinking lot of soccer-related activities.

~Love makes it possible to cuddle your baby in the middle of the night, even when her pajamas are coated in vomit.

~There's a lot to be said for lists.

~Because mine can truly be a thankless job,
I must do my work for Him alone.

~That is enough.

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving."

-Colossians 3:23-24

Friday, September 10, 2010

a letter to my daughter

My dearest Elise,

You are still so small as I write this letter. Still, when I look into your eyes, when I hold you close, when you wrap your hand around my fingers, there is so much that I want to say to you. I want to capture my thoughts and feelings in this very moment, so that you might know, later, something of your mother at this time.

But mere words cannot express how much you mean to me. You were born after I thought my heart was closed to the idea of more children. Yet God woke something there. He patiently taught me, making it clear that He was not finished crafting our family. I yielded to Him - not easily - and then...then, He gave me you.

I know, of course, that you have not been given to me at all - not in the sense that you are mine. You are merely lent me. Still, the Lord has sent you into our home for a season, and you have brought us such joy!

I utterly love mothering you. I love your bright eyes, your funny noises, your husky little cry. I love your velvety cheeks, your tiny hands, your kicking feet. Your smile lights up our home.

And those nighttime feedings. The house - so rarely quiet - is at last perfectly still: only you and me awake. It is such a dear, familiar routine. The secret choreography of your feeding, known only to the two of us. Yes, a part of me will be sad when you give up this last nighttime feeding. It is a precious time to me.

And you are so precious. Such a delightful surprise for our family! You have such a sweet spirit - you have captured our hearts. My love, you are blessed to have three big brothers. They will have your back when you're older, and though I know your relationships may not always be perfect, those brothers are, and will be, a gift to you. Your family is a gift. God certainly knew what He was doing when he knit us together.

It breaks my heart when you cry. And when I think of the loss and pain which seem inevitable in this life, I long to find a way to shelter you from it. But I know that the God of all comfort will be faithful, and that He can take a hard thing and refine it into something beautiful. So, when your heart is broken, when you're wounded, when you've stumbled or are betrayed...take it to Him.

Elise, I want so much to be exactly the mother you want and need. I want to be hip, and confident, and funny, and wise. I want to be quicker to lay down my pride, to yield to the wisdom that comes from above. I want to instill in you a sense of worth, and a longing for your Creator.

I know that I cannot be all you need. But I promise that I will do my best. Please be patient with me.

I do not know what the coming years will bring. I do not know if our family will continue to enjoy health and happiness, or hard things that will shake us all. But I know that wherever life takes us, God will be there. And no matter what, I am so thankful for each child He has, in His grace, given into my arms for a season.

I love you, sweet girl.

Your Mother

Thursday, September 9, 2010

mommy confessions

1) I accidentally poured balsamic vinegar into the frying pan where the butter was melting. It was supposed to be olive oil. In my defense, they are both squarish bottles!

2) Recently I used our GPS to help me get home, after discovering that the road I usually use was closed for road construction.

3) While our "love magnets" were spread out on the counter (I had intended to write something flirty and put it on the fridge) I got started on a project, and ended up dribbling soy sauce on them.

4) I desperately want a love seat to put by the fireplace.

5) A few minutes ago I was feeling nervous and ate like 7 cookies in one sitting.

6) I'm much more excited about minischool this term (Monday School, the outing formerly known as Friday School). It was hard with a newborn.

7) I'm having a terrible time trying to soft-boil eggs for my daughter. I am just plain lousy at it!

8) I blog a lot more when 3/4 of my children are away for a few days.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


This song is such an encouragement to me, and so I thought I would share it with you, dear mommy friends and readers. Be encouraged.

*Don't forget to scroll down and pause the music!

And it's not even Mother's Day!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

mommy confessions

1) I recently attempted to remove my eye make-up with homemade deodorant. I usually use a small jar of coconut oil, which I keep in my bathroom drawer. No wonder it felt grittier than usual...

2) I have not done a very good job of incorporating my toddler into our homeschooling routine. So now, in this month before our school year begins, I am cramming in order to figure out how to make it work.

3) It's been nice to give the excuse/reason for our trimester school year as "we were going to move, and have a baby" in 2009-10... and while that was true and valid, I've simply decided that it works well for us. So we are continuing on in the way we've begun, ...but I need to get over the need to justify my choices to people.

4) I ate way too much of the sugar-laden chocolate my secret sister gave me, the day she gave it to me.

5) The boys are gone again this week, and once again I cleaned windows, swept, and mopped until my kitchen floor gleamed - the day that they left. I love being a mama, but I also love it when my cleaning efforts last more than a few hours!

6) I am so, so happy that my husband is not coaching soccer this fall.

7) My son's 5th birthday is in a few weeks, and I have done almost no planning for his celebration.

8) When Dr. Dobson's Family Talk radio broadcast featured a series on homeschooling last week (the founders of our co-op were on for two thirds of it!), I lapped up the encouragement like so much cream....and then listened to both interviews again.

9) I apparently have a lot to confess...but hey, it's good for the soul, right?

Monday, September 6, 2010


"From the very beginning, God made it clear: Home is holy ground. Your home is holy ground. And it's your privilege and your responsibility, even amid the messes and confusion of daily life, not only to take off your shoes, but to tend to the holy flame. As a human being in whom God's spirit dwells, you have that privilege. As a woman and as a mother, you have a special set of gifts and responsibilities. You are called to create and maintain a home environment and atmosphere that reflects God's love, God's hope, God's peace - quite literally to build your home on holy ground."

-Donna Otto

Saturday, September 4, 2010

she's watching me

She's watching me.

When I grimace at my reflection in the mirror.

She's watching me.

When I fret about the number on the label of my jeans.

When I talk about flat hair, when I bemoan the size of my thighs. When I speak critically about my appearance, and the body God has given, she's watching me.

She's watching me.

When I complain about the endless crumbs on the floor. When I am cranky about forgotten toys and scraps of paper. When I lament the never-ending work of keeping up my house, she's watching me.

She's watching me.

When I speak about motherhood, when I mention marriage. When I honor or dishonor my husband, rejoice in the blessings of my children or reel under the responsibilities of parenthood, she's watching me.

When I come up against trials, difficult people, wearying situations. When I express anger, grief, forgiveness, or compassion, she's watching me.

She's watching I embrace my femininity, my sexuality, my place in this life God has given me. How I view and treat myself as His child.

When I spend time on useless idles - things that have no lasting significance. When I place value on the things that are truly important, she's watching me.

When she considers the kind of woman she'd like to become...she's watching me.

Friday, September 3, 2010

on eggs

If you're scandalized that I would choose egg yolk (and soft at that!) as my baby's first solid food, I'd like to invite you to read the link below from Kristen at Food Renegade. It explains very well why I have no fear of feeding my baby, and indeed the rest of my family, such an important staple in our diet.

Why I'm Not Afraid of Salmonella

The bottom line? Know your farmer.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

open wide

Look who's trying something new!

We're forgoing early grains this time around, and decided to start with some egg yolk.

Our little girl lapped it up!

She's also sampled a fistful of banana, and really dug it. I have a feeling there's no turning back now. Hold on, everybody!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

optimism is...

...believing that my daughter will, someday, have a full head of hair.