Saturday, February 25, 2012

average, ordinary, everyday

This is a surprise guest post by Jeff, Mindy's husband.

In this world of television and internet news where fame and celebrity can travel fast, sometimes the rest of us think our lives are mundane.

In a world where we celebrate the entrepreneurs and the risk-takers, average Joes seem to get lost in the shuffle.

But I would like to suggest that sometimes the most heroic and courageous people aren't the ones in the headlines one day and gone the next. They are the people who get up day after day and do what's needed over and over again. They make sacrifices for their families or friends... every day

And I believe my wife is one of these people.

She's not flashy, but she's the most beautiful person in the world to me. She gives up exercise to spend a little time laying on the floor talking with Gabe. She reads books one page at a time, between household chores because she doesn't have the time to sit down most days. She makes our home a sanctuary. It may not be tidy by some people's standards, but when I walk into our house after a long day at work, I know I'm home. And she is the best sight in the world, coming to welcome me with a smile into a place full of energy and noise and love.

She's not a gourmet, but she's an Iron Chef in my book. Her tenacious search for real food that will fit our budget and nourish our bodies amazes me. And while she may not consider her meals gourmet, they are always fixed with love and care. Every Day! Not just once a week, or once a month, but everyday. This is the kind of love and courage that doesn't take weekends off.

She's not a leader of many, but she has already left an indelible mark on the next generation. She's naturally quiet and often feels she is not equipped for the calling of being a homeschooling homemaking wife of an elder. Aren't we all ill-equipped in some form or another for the calling God has placed on our lives? That leaves room for God's amazing providence. Mindy's dogged determination and reliance on God's strength when she is weak has resulted in some amazing children, if I do say so myself. They're not perfect, but her perseverance in discipline and love have taught them boundaries, courtesy and in the case of our oldest a new found work ethic that pleases both him and his parents.  Mindy's commitment to teaching our children to love God and follow him will leave a lasting legacy.

So I'd like to replace the adjectives of average, ordinary and everyday with consistent, loyal and dependable.

Do you have a mind numbing commute everyday to work at a job that provides for your family? Do you feel tied down by your responsibilities at home and long for freedom from the everyday chores that seem to go unnoticed most of the time? It's hard, but I believe that it's the average, ordinary, everyday consistent, loyal, dependable people that are the backbone of our society. Their discipline and reliability provide not only for their families but for their communities.

So thank you! To all the average Janes and Joes out there who do what needs to be done everyday, whether they feel like it or not.

And a special thank you to Mindy. You are my hero. And nothing you do is average or ordinary to me.

I love you, Mindy.

A note for the reader: thanks for indulging in this little tribute to my wife. She's an amazing woman, but she's good at hiding it. :D

Thursday, February 16, 2012

eau de baby vomit ...*re-posted*

(I wrote this poem for Owen in July of 2008.  Alas, it is all too fitting for little Gabriel as well, and therefore I felt it deserved a re-post.)

My sweet little baby smells so good
Til he starts the day with an urp
I snuggle him close up on my shoulder
Til I hear the dreaded burp.

Damage control, save the clothes!
I strive to direct the flow
But my own sweet dear little spitter
Shows I'm much too slow.

Each & every day it's a matter of course
That casualties will fall.
Onesie, t-shirt, Mama's shoes
The flood nails one and all.

The "rain falls on the just and the unjust,"
In our home that is so true.
But this particular brand of weather
When sniffed, produces an "Ew!"

Still, this dear precious boy
Is worth it all, with his dear sweet gummy grins
And when he laughs, I forget about
The milk curds on his chin.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

being a loser on Valentine's Day

I have a confession to make: minor holidays leave me feeling like a loser.

I can't remember the last time I made my kids a heart-shaped egg.  Or did a crafty art project with a St. Patrick's Day theme.  At the most, I might stir a little green coloring into my my children's scrambled eggs on March 17th.  And if I'm really feeling creative, I just might do Mickey Mouse pancakes.  If they're lucky.

How boring, right?  We have cute dinosaur sandwich cutters, but I utterly hate the thought of the waste (scraps).  So we hardly ever use them.

Don't panic though...I make Christmas sugar cookies with my boys.  And I am usually (just) organized enough to make Resurrection cookies for Easter morning.  We have discussed Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and what he stood for.  But the rest of it is beyond me.  For Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's, and the rest of it, I'm a big loser of a mom.

Because to be honest, you've gotta pick & choose.  As mothers, we absolutely cannot do it all.  As much as I would like to, I can't.  Maybe in a few years I'll be able to pick up those loose threads, gather a bunch of creative ideas from Pinterest, and go for it.  But for the time being, it just ain't happening.

So, what did we do today?  Well, I'd toyed with the idea of pink pancakes, but once I realized that Valentine's fell on a Tuesday this year, I knew they were an impossibility - we had to be out the door by 8:45 AM, after all. (Isn't it a good thing I homeschool my children, and don't have to be organized enough to actually leave the house every day??)  Instead, we had leftover french toast and cheese omeletes.  After Bible study, we did a math review page, emptied the dishwasher, and had lunch.

In the afternoon, I made my weekly double batch of kombucha, fed my baby, called my dad, and snuggled my little girl, who's feeling a mite under the weather.  I did a load of laundry, convinced my daughter to exercise with me (which is nearly as fun as cuddling, right?), and prepared dinner to serve my boys before they head off to Awana.

I suppose that, in many ways, it's just another ordinary day.

But at the risk of oversimplifying, I think that today was still about love, even if it wasn't filled with hearts and candy. It was full of work, effort, and cuddles.  It was another day, another labor of love.

Perhaps that's a justification.  But it's what I'm hanging my hat on right now.  That making (regular, boring) sandwiches and changing diapers, washing sheets and wiping faces, matters as much as pink pancakes and heart-shaped cookies.  Maybe even more.

So really, what does it matter if I don't jazz things up for Valentine's Day?  I have children who love me, need me.  I have a husband who shows me with actions as well as words, on a daily basis, that our relationship, and my heart, are priorities to him.

That's not too shabby for any day of the year.  Even February 14th.

Monday, February 13, 2012

photos vs. writing

I'm going to be getting back to more writing one of these days.  Honest I will.  I know the blog has been a bit photo-heavy lately (when I've bothered to post, that is), and while I know photos can be lovely and perhaps even longed for (I'm looking at you, Grandma!), I've always felt that an appealing blog should have a nice balance of writing and photos.

"Always" meaning of course, for the four or so years that I've been poking around in the bloggy world.  Or blogosphere, if that's not too contrived a word.

Although it just may be, anyway.

I've mentioned that I've been busy.  And it's true - we're three weeks back into homeschooling, and between baby care, basic (and I do mean basic) household maintenance, and keeping food on the table, there are times I can barely keep my head above water.  Also, and I know this is hardly an original seems that the laundry load has quadrupled since sweet Gabriel was born.  People say things like that all the time, but I've never felt it so markedly as I do this time around.  So of course, there's the laundry factor, and I am desperately trying to find time to exercise as much as possible.

But beyond the busyness, I've been in a bit of a fog personally.  Such things don't really lend themselves to good writing.  Or even, writing much at all.

However, the fog is lifting.  And as it does, I'm feeling more like doing some of the things I love to do.  Like blogging.  And baking.  So as I find little slivers of time, I'm going to try to work those things into my life.

Hopefully, you'll find more writing here soon.  But don't worry, there will be photos, too.  After all, we must consider the needs of Grandma!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Friday, February 3, 2012

activities for my littles

Back in November, while in the throes of nesting, I went through a crafty stage.

You may recall that I am not at all crafty.  In fact, I very rarely dabble in anything of the crafty sort.  But I stumbled on some simple (very simple!) project ideas, and I decided to make a few things to help keep my younger kids occupied after the baby was born.

Said baby is now 7 weeks old, and we just got the box o' activities out last week. But hey, I was saving them for a "rainy day."

All of these ideas came from THIS POST by Michele at Frugal Granola.  So I suppose it's not entirely accurate to say I "stumbled upon" the ideas, since I read her beautiful blog religiously.  Still, it was a happy surprise to find something I could and wanted to do.

My kids love these activities!  Even my big boys think they're very cool, and love to help the little ones do their projects.  I'm very pleased to have a box o' fun to pull out, especially during school time.

Maybe there's something to this Crafts Thing, after all...

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Kyle I., Private Eye.

First of all, you need to know that Kyle has been asking for a camera for a long, long time.  It's been...probably two years?  A very long time.   Jeff and I decided to make his dream come true, and we bought him a camera for Christmas.  As soon as we had made the purchase (unbeknownst to him, of course), he began asking me questions like "What are some stores where I be able to buy a camera?"  This dude was determined to try his hand at photography.

And at Christmas, he had his camera, at long last.  By the end of January, he had completely filled up his memory card: nearly 4,000 photos.  I don't mind telling you that some of them are hilarious.

But the other week he came to me during mommy-mandated Quiet Time, camera in hand.  It seems he had discovered his sister sneaking out of her bedroom (an ongoing battle at the moment), and had decided to document his proof of said misdeed.  Here are a few of the shots he captured.

(Surveying the scene)

(Venturing out.)

(Uh oh, busted!)

(Scurrying back!)

(What?  Oh, Minnie and I have just been here in my room, hanging out...)

My 6-year-old son has become a private detective.  Who would've guessed it?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

call me pollyanna

In light of the fact that last night was remarkably UN-restful, and that this morning was on the frustrating side, I thought I'd make a list of things for which I'm thankful today. Call me Pollyanna if you like, although I'm really not a Pollyanna.  There are just days when one needs to purposefully look on the bright side of life...

So.  Today I am thankful for...

...dimpled, gummy smiles.

...a successful transitioning of Gabriel to his new bedroom for nighttime sleep (naps are still a work in progress).

...the fact that Owen, Gabriel's new roommate, is a stellar sleeper, and didn't stir all the night Gabe had a diaper leak and hollered like a furious yodeler while I had to change his diaper, pajamas, and sheets at midnight.  Owen had no clue knew that anything at all had happened.

...the generosity of my church family, who threw a baby shower for G and me last Sunday, regardless of the fact that he is the fifth baby to grace our home.  Every baby deserves to be celebrated, but not everyone acts like it.


...a strong, healthy body.

...the fact that my husband finds me attractive in spite of how gross I might feel about my body. husband's presence and commitment to our family, in a world where seemingly stable marriages seem to be crumbling right and left.  I find myself in tears when I hear of another husband who's left because, if not for my husband's commitment to us, that abandoned wife could be me.  I am so, so grateful that my Jeff is a man of integrity. daughter's newfound love of having her hair done.  And her love of hats, although those two loves do not peacefully co-exist.

...another birthday to celebrate next week!

...not having to leave the house at all today, and that because of that, I can wear yoga pants and slippers all the live-long day.

...swaddling blankets. averted disaster yesterday afternoon, and the fact that I was spared by the grace and kindness of two other women.

...pajamas, and the knowledge that I'm only 7 hours or so away from mine...