Friday, May 24, 2013

an announcement

I have something tell you guys.  It's not a huge deal - at least, I don't know that it is...not yet anyway.  Still, it's kind of exciting.  And there is potential here.  

Do you remember when I shared that I was falling in love with essential oils?  That attraction has continued to grow, and I've had so much fun learning about them.  

I carry them with me wherever I go.  We use them a lot around the house - for stomachaches, for bumps and bruises, for aromatherapy.  I personally use them on a daily basis - several times a day, in fact.

So in light of all this, and my love of the oils and what they can do, I have decided to become a consultant for DoTerra.  I'm still not entirely sure how this will look in my life, or how far I will try to take it all.  For now, let's just say I'm on a new journey.  And if you're interested in learning more about DoTerra or essential oils, or if you'd like to order something through me, let me know.  We can learn together!

After all, I'm just getting started.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

the dark ages

It's kind of the dark ages right now.

Here I am in the first trimester: too early to feel my baby move, and we haven't heard the heartbeat yet.  The first trimester always feels like a huge leap of faith to me; assuming all is well with my pregnancy - which can be difficult once you've lost a child.  Still, I'm trying to focus on positive things, and assume the best.  I do have an appointment with my midwife next week...hopefully we'll hear that beautiful sound soon.

After a stunningly beautiful few weeks in spring (unseasonably warm and bright) we've lapsed into cold, rainy weather again.  It's pretty normal for this time of year, but it's no fun after those gorgeous few weeks.    I did hear that yesterday was the coldest May 22nd in Portland history.  It's little wonder I caved and turned on the heat yesterday morning!

We are toiling to finish out our school year.  The biggest challenge is math - there are just so many lessons to complete!  I'm trying to decide how hard I need to push to get through them all; math lessons do build upon themselves of course, but it's the end of the year...and besides, we're changing our math curriculum for next year.  So maybe it isn't a huge deal at this point?  I'm not sure.  I tend to be a bit of a slave to my lesson plan,  but I hate that and I'm trying to be more cool...fluid...flexible.  Easy.  But it doesn't come easily to me, stick-in-the-mud that I am...

That's it, I guess.  And I know...this post is kind of blah.  But I suppose that's how I'm feeling: blah.    A little blue, a little weary, a little anxious.

Today I shall show myself some tender loving care: warm slippers, a cup of my favorite hot beverage by the fireplace, and taking things a little easier (except maybe for math).  Praise will be okay.   It's always dark before the dawn, right?

Friday, May 10, 2013

mommy confessions

1)  This morning I sent my son upstairs on an errand, an errand which really didn't need to be done.  Why did I do this?  Because he wouldn't stop talking about a game which absolutely bores me to tears.

2)  For the past year and a half  I have had the most difficult time with reading books.  Me, the bookworm.  Me, the girl who had her nose buried in a book while her family drove through the Rocky Mountains.  I hope  to get my groove of these days.

3)  I fantasize about being there when my daughter gives birth to her first baby.  In my mind, she's at home, and there's a birthing tub with a midwife nearby.  My daughter is only three years old.

4)  We still do Lunch in the Living Room, at least once a week.  Try not to judge me, we do eat dinner all together every evening.  Sometimes a mama just needs to have a meal all by herself...

5)   My pupils aren't the only ones counting the days til summer vacation!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

re-post: family folklore

My toddler-baby is 17 months this week.  Bearing that in mind, and considering how busy/lazy/blocked I've been lately about writing here, I thought I'd reach into the archives of my email to share an "old" story with you. This incident happened on March 13, 2007. Owen and Elise had not been born yet, Benjamin was at preschool, and our little Kyle was about 17 months old.

I've told this tale before, but this week seemed an apt time to share it again.  

Though it's a story on him, Kyle loves to hear about this day. And as for me, it taught me a big lesson about preparedness as a mama. Here is the story as I wrote it out that very day, in order to share with friends and family:

....and here's what happened today. Kyle's big thing lately is to go around and close doors. Bathroom doors, bedroom doors, you name it. This morning I learned that he can lock them, too! I went out to our garage (which is attached) to get some shopping bags out of van, leaving the door into the house open. I was in the garage maybe 30 seconds, and in the meantime I heard my 17-month-old close the door. When I got to it and turned the handle, it was locked! It wasn't even one of those push-button ones, it's a flat lock that you turn!

We have a cat door in that doorway, so I was able to see & talk to him. I tried to get him to unlock it, but he just grinned at me. Tried reaching my arm up through the cat door toward the doorknob-- but there was no way I could reach. Then I had the bright idea of having him bring me my purse. He would get up, walk off purposefully, and come back with no purse! I don't even know if he knows what my purse is, but regardless, he would not or could not bring it to me. At this point I'm starting to get a little panicked. My husband works way across the city, we don't have a key hidden anywhere, and I am supposed to go pick up my older son from preschool in about an hour. I have no keys, no phone, no coat. I did have garage door opener in the van, so I finally decided to take it with me, close the garage, and use a neighbor's phone. At that point Kyle was getting upset. Mama, why are you leaving? Why are you closing the garage door when I'm here by myself? He was was so hard to leave him like that!

Thankfully I found a neighbor who was home, and let me make few phone calls. Even after the locksmith got there, it was another 20 minutes before they could get either of our doors open. Thankfully Kyle was happy enough at that point. Bewildered, yes, but just glad I was back. I had found a bag of Cheerios the van, so I passed it through the cat door for him to munch on (this was all during lunchtime, but we hadn't eaten yet).

So...I guess from now on I need to take my keys with me when I go bring groceries, etc. in from the van! Or go out to get a soda, or give the cat food, or anything. Ugh. Either that, or keep a key in the van... Hide-a-keys make me nervous, so I don't think we'll do anything like that...

The funny thing in all of this is that right before I got locked out, my darling son had pooped in his diaper! So he spent the better part of an hour sitting on that poop, squishing it flatter than a pancake. Not to mention being really smelly! What a stinker!

Love from a very exhausted

So, what's the moral of this story?  Never, ever let your toddler have the upper hand.  Especially if there are no older kids around to step in!


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

investing in the future

Have I mentioned that our church is putting up a new building?

Well, we are.  It has been a long process; our oldest child, now nearly halfway through his tenth year, was a mere two months old when we began the first capitol campaign.  But the timing has been good - it makes for much less debt.

Ten years ago the focus was on saving money to buy property.  A few years later we had a celebration wen they first broke ground.  We now have made a serious start.  You can really see a lot of what it will look like when it's finished.  We're currently raising money to put a roof over our new building.  Once that's done, we hope to have the thing done completed before too much more time goes by.

People have saved and sacrificed.  Many church members have spent countless days helping pour cement and moving dirt.   It has been a dream we're all working toward, and now we can finally start to see that dream being realized.

A few weeks ago the Sunday school kids went out to the church property.  They were able to place handprints in the cement by the children's wing, and the staff even wrote the children's initials.  It is a beautiful thing.

On Sunday night our family headed to the property for a BBQ and Tour.  The pastor (whose vision and faith have been the driving force behind all this) took groups through the facility, showing us what has already been accomplished and lending us his perspective on what it will all look like in the future.

It's going to be amazing.

But more than a nice place to gather, more than finally having the space we need for our ever-expanding children's ministry, I believe this place will be a blessing to our community.  I'm so excited to see the outreach that will happen there!  This is an exhilarating time for our church body, and we are thrilled to be a part of it all.

Friday, May 3, 2013

but not for me

Do you know the old song "But Not For Me?"  You can hear the incomparable Ella Fitzgerald croon it if you follow this link.

Lately I've found myself humming this classic tune a lot.  Mostly in the kitchen.

It's not love that I've missed out on.  (If that were the case, I'm pretty sure I'd be singing this one 24/7.)  Not at all.   Still, I have been a bit wistful of late.  And there's a very good reason for that.  Let me tell you about it...

my gluten-free toddler & me

Here's how my personal adaptation of the song goes -

"I'm making sourdough now
But not for me
Soaked whole wheat waffles now
But not for me

Because I truthfully
Need to be gluten-free
For now, they're not
For me

I'm bottling 'bucha now
But not for me
Concord or berries, wow
But not for me

Four batches regular-ly
But I feel no, no glee
Because it's not
For me..."

It's true.  It's all a bit complicated, and I won't go into all the gritty details just now, but for the foreseeable future I am on a very restricted diet.  No gluten, indeed very few grains.  Ideally no sweeteners at all save stevia, although I'm letting myself have a tiny bit of raw honey each day.  No kombucha (*sob*).  And very little, if any, dairy.

It hasn't been easy, and I can't say it's fun to prepare my favorite foods every day knowing that I cannot enjoy them.  But the last month or so has told me, loud and clear, that I need to be very careful right now.  As wonderful (and healthful!) as these things are, for me the consequences to my own health are not worth that moment of pleasure.

And so, I'll go on serving English muffins with honey, and jam, and other things I can't have.  I'll make ice cream and keep on brewing that fizzy kombucha.  I'm glad my family enjoys partaking of these things, and am truly happy to serve my loved ones in this way.  But this stuff?  Right now?

It's not for me.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

our family is outside the norm

As a family of unusual size, we know we're outside of the cultural norm.  We are aware.  Our family doesn't fit into the typical sedan, and we often have to wait longer for a table at a restaurant.  When we were traveling last summer, we had more than one hotel inform us that our number was too great to book a single room.

And then there are the remarks.  It's not uncommon for my husband and I to hear "You know, they've figured out what causes that!" and comments even more clever than that (!).  I fear that Jeff hears it more than I do, being out in the workforce.   In my homeschooling circle, having a large family is more common, although that certainly isn't the case at the church where we attend and serve.  Still, there's no doubt about it, we're the family that's not like the others.  And we're okay with that.

It didn't used to be this way, though.  Larger families used to be common and celebrated.  For a number of reasons, which I won't discuss today, our society has changed its view of what the "ideal" family should look like.  Is it for the best?  I don't believe it is, but that's a different post for a different day...

My husband and I have made a point of growing less sensitive to the comments.  We realize that, as an anomaly, we are more likely to draw attention, thoughtless remarks, and criticism.    There are people in our life who find our brood highly amusing.  I can't imagine why, but they seem to find it hilarious that we are raising five children.  They never miss an opportunity to make us the punchline of a joke.  Others have been more encouraging and supportive, though, and we appreciate these folks more than we can say.

It's not always easy to live outside the parameters of what our culture has decided is "normal."  We find that it's worth it, however.   And we didn't choose this life to appease culture.  Heaven forbid that ever become our goal!

Why am I writing all this?  I suppose I want to encourage you today, to examine your own attitude toward children.  Our society views them as a burden - but in truth they are a blessing!   THIS POST sums it up very well, and I highly encourage you to take a look.  

Today I'm asking you to consider how our culture views children, and then ask yourself how God views them.  Examine the Scriptures, pray.

And for goodness' sake, be kind in what you say.   I don't want my children to hear people talk about what a chore they are.  They are blessings.  They are our treasures.