Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A Quote to Remember

"It is certainly less serious [for parents] to deny their children certain comforts or material advantages than to deprive them of the presence of brothers and sisters, who could help them to grow in humanity and to realize the beauty of life at all its ages and in all its variety."


I just read this quote, and it touched me. In this world, people think you are crazy to have more than your 2.2 children (and the number is probably getting even smaller), and this is a reminder that this is the best thing I can do for my kids. I may not be able to (or want to for that matter) give them the latest fashion, or the latest toy, but I can give them each other, and that is priceless.

I hope you don't mind if I go down memory lane a bit. None of these pictures are recent, but I randomly went through my pictures picking out some of my favorite sibling pictures (of my kids).

Oh, and to my mom and dad - thank you so much for giving me my sister and brother! I love you all!
My sister with her son
My brother with our niece

Friday, July 27, 2007

Something to Listen To


Do you struggle with people pleasing? Oh boy I certainly do. I also can struggle with low self esteem. This message by James MacDonald really hit me (thank you honey for having me listen to it!) With regard to people pleasing, Dr. MacDonald led us to Galatians 1:10 which says - Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ. Also Proverbs 29:25 says - Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.

With regard to low self esteem, Dr. MacDonald said whether you have a low self esteem or a high self esteem, its a different side of the same coin. A lie told to us by Satan is that if you have a low self esteem, you need to work on having a higher self-esteem. WRONG! Any self-esteem, is selfish! To get away from having a low self-esteem, one needs to work on their Christ-esteem.

Please listen to this when you get a chance (not long). You will see how the two tie in together.

Edited: Look at the blog "Home Sweet Simple Home" listed to the right. Isn't God amazing - I wrote mine before I checked her blog, and to my knowledge, she doesn't read mine. God is a great orchestrator!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

My Gardens

Here's some pictures of how my veggie gardens are doing. This is an experiment year for me. I tried to use the principals of square foot gardening (do a Google search and you'll find loads of information). The peas and beans are doing great, as I expect the cucumbers will as well. But this is my first veggie garden at the new house, and honestly, I think I was lucky to have wonderful soil at the old place! I put little effort and yielded crops I couldn't keep up with there. But this year, I'm not pregnant, nor do I have a newborn, and so I've been putting in more time, and just not getting the same results. So, I guess next year I'll have to put some work into the soil.

The main garden is approximately 4 foot X 8 foot. I don't think there's room enough for the corn that is growing, but not shown in this picture is the "grassy" head on the corn that came up last weekend. So, who knows what will come of it? I also have a pumpkin patch in another section of the yard. I'll take pictures of those soon. I'm getting surprises there!

My tomatoes are in pots on the deck. This is a horrible picture showing some pretty sickly leaves! I pruned these off, and the tomatoes are actually doing really great! I have cherry tomatoes for salads and plum tomatoes which I'll make into a sauce.
Here's some cucumber blossoms. I have loads of blossoms but no cucumbers yet. This is my first year growing cucumbers, so I'm not sure what to expect. If I get as many cucumbers as I have blooms, I'll be giving some away because we'll never eat them all!

The green beans are coming faster than we can eat. Yummy! Madison loves to just gnaw on the beans and peas.

The peas are also growing fast too. Good thing as we eat a ton of them while playing in the yard. We still have plenty to bring inside though. The other night I made vegetable fried rice and used green beans and peas from the garden. Yummy!

Otherwise, my flower beds are just tired and need some help. I've recruited my mom (who has beautiful gardens - maybe I can take some pictures of her to show off on my blog!) to help me. At this point I'll probably wait until late summer or fall. You know you can still plant perennials then, right? Usually we're so inspired in the spring after a long winter, but the fall is also a great time to plant. Its also a great time as many garden centers are trying to get rid of their stock at a very low price.
Well today is unbelievably hot! No cooking going on here today. Tonight we'll be swimming and having pizza delivered right to the pool. Who can beat that!?!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Back from a Weekend of Camping

What a wonderful weekend we had camping together! I'm amazed at how many people don't like camping, and equally how many people think I am crazy for camping with such little children. It was absolutely fine, and our kids slept so late both mornings, that we joke that we may camp every Friday night just so we all can sleep in on Saturday mornings (all 3 kids slept until about 8 am - that's late for us)!

When we arrived at the campground on Friday night, it literally started pouring the moment we drove into our site. Yikes - my husband got everything set up quickly as I stayed under the trees with the kids, and we only got a little damp. Saturday morning we woke to beautiful sunshine, and we figured if the kids could sleep so great in the rain, than surely they would sleep even better after a busy day in the sunshine! And we were right. After a full day of watching mountain bike races and walking, we headed back to camp and ate spaghetti and garlic bread, and then enjoyed smores with our neighbor-campers, who had 2 young kids. It was a fun time. Here's some pictures of our adventures!

Car all packed, and kids ready to go!

Right outside our tent
My husband fixing our oldest son's flat tire

Our oldest son enjoying breakfast by the campfire

Our middle son preferred eating his donut at the picnic table

Our daughter cruising along the picnic table benches
Here's our daughter enjoying sucking on some clover. She would not keep it out of her mouth. It was "nummy" as she says! Well since it is edible, I kind of let her go to town (within reason!) Good thing she's my third child! I would have freaked out if our oldest did this as a baby!
Our oldest son discovered he's an expert at catching newts. Our middle son liked to watch, but when he touched them he would let out a yell while quickly bringing his hand back! Our oldest son and the "neighbor" kids would catch 20-30 at a time and then we would make them let them go and start over again! Here's our oldest trying to convince our middle son to touch one of the newts.
Here's a close-up of one of our oldest's finds.
And one of Daddy's finds - this is a crayfish
I was thankful I brought our middle son's favorite toy - a toy lawnmower. He is such a busy boy! He works even while on vacation!

Daddy and our middle son enjoying some one on one time. All five of us took a little cruise around the pond in this boat that the campground provided.
I'm so thankful for the rainy day God provided today, just perfect to be at home catching up on the laundry and unpacking from the weekend. The boys are enjoying a movie, while our daughter sleeps, and it is a blessing to be home today.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Asthma and Cloth Diapers

When my oldest son was around 1 1/2 - 2 years old, he was diagnosed with asthma. I honestly thought the doctors were just throwing the term around, but the last few years have proven that he indeed has it. About 2-3 times a year it gets really difficult for him. If he gets a cold when it is a particularly bad time of year for him, this is what we have to do:

Thankfully this doesn't happen often, but sometimes the regular inhaler just isn't enough, and we need to get on top of it with nebulizer treatments in order for him to fully get better. As you can see in his eyes, he just isn't feeling well.

But he's a great sport about it, and generally finds something to keep him occupied for the 5 or so minutes it takes to finish the medicine out of the cup. Here he's playing with a string made into a lasso and a car. Seriously, one of his favorite "toys" is string or those small bungee cords used to secure tarps and things down. He loves using string to tow things with. He's easy to please!

I am pleased to report that the first 24 hours of cloth diapering is going well. Well to be perfectly honest I'm not certain I will be a cloth diaper-er 100% of the time. I used disposables for night and nap time. Don't want to fuss with a good thing (our daughter has always been a great sleeper!) Some things I've learned are: don't let the inner prefold diaper that is used for soaking stick out of the diaper cover. It wicked out and got her clothes wet! Also, you need to change more frequently. But I'm guilty of probably not changing enough, so I'm not too upset about this. And another thing is that the poop thing was no big deal whatsoever.

When my grandmother passed away a few years back, I was given a few linens which I have about the house, and I also grabbed this thing-a-ma-jig just because it looked neat.

I've learned it is a drying rack, and have never had a real chance to use it until now. It has six rungs, and since I have six diaper covers, it will be perfect for drying them! I decided to air dry simply to avoid wearing out the Velcro.

Anyway, the drying rack folds up like this and takes up hardly any space at all! Isn't it neat?On a totally different note - look what surprises come with not weeding!

I haven't had a chance to pull out what I thought was a big weed growing smack dab in the middle of my juniper bushes (is that what these are called? A very low lying, sprawling type juniper) Good thing I didn't, as it looks like a chipmunk or something hid a sunflower seed in there, and now I expect to have a beautiful sunflower in the middle of my bushes! And I was sad that I didn't get a chance to plant sunflowers this spring! Look what God provided through a chipmunk! I'll take a picture when it blooms!

I don't expect to blog as regularly as I have this week, but with the children having colds, it has been pretty quiet here, with a lot of rest time. As it says in I Thessalonians 5:18, we are to give thanks in all circumstances. I can be thankful for the time when my children are not feeling well, as it causes them to be more dependent on me. My oldest son isn't typically a cuddly boy, especially as the years are going by, but when he is feeling sick, he climbs up in my lap, looking for some extra mommy time.
Thank You Lord for the blessings that come even when my children are sick! Help me to give thanks in all circumstances, for You deserve my thankfulness as You are Holy and Gracious! Thank You God!
Blessings to you!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

What I've Been Up To

Here are pictures of some of the things I've been up to lately:

For $10, I got 6 cloth-diaper covers on eBay! I have a ga-zillion prefolds (the inserts that will go under these covers). So for $10, I hope to finish diapering my daughter who is 14 months old until she is potty-trained! My son who is 2.5 is showing a lot of readiness for using the potty. He can stay dry and pee successfully throughout the day. Its just the other kind of potty that he hasn't done yet. This will come soon enough, and I must be cheerful and patient with him! Some things don't come naturally to us, and using the potty is one of those things that need to be learned. I have been using cloth wipes for a few weeks now and they are working wonderfully!

This is an air freshener I bought at the farmer's market a few weeks ago. It is made with lavender essential oil, and the bamboo wicks soak it up and fill the house with its beautiful scent. The yellow canister next to it is a garage sale find that I love!

I'm so excited to have kefir grains (they have a rubbery, tapioca-like consistency)! You put the grains in milk and let it sit out on the counter for several hours until it is the taste you want. We've been letting it sit out for about 24 hours, and in the morning have been making strawberry/banana kefir smoothies. Kefir has recently been named one of the 6 super-foods for health. It has a taste like yogurt, and it adds the good bacteria back to your digestive system. Do a search on the Internet for it, and you will find loads of information too. I have to say that I have stopped having my nightly stomach aches. It is good for all sorts of things, like boosting your immune system, etc., etc., etc. The kids aren't totally sold on it, but I'm still playing with ways to use it that they will like. I made pancakes a few mornings this week using only kefir to wet the batter, and the kids didn't even notice. You can use kefir in place of buttermilk, so I thought the pancakes actually tasted better! I have some set to the side to make some sourdough bread next week. I'm new to this, so I don't have a lot of information to share other than the research I've done for myself on the Internet.

When we packed, there were several boxes of things that remained in boxes throughout the last 3 years at our old home. This made me sad, but spurred me to take a different course this time around. So as I've sorted through boxes at our new house, I've found several odds and ends of decorations and things. I had an empty spot on my front porch, so I placed a beautiful old sewing table that my mother gave me there, and have been placing these things on it. Today as we had some old friends stop by for a visit, they commented how lovely and welcoming this was. Its good to get everything unpacked and used!

On a not-so-light note, I've been bothered by how unwelcoming some can be. For a few hours yesterday, I really let this bother me, but then I realized, it is no different than how I can be! Before I moved, I was very involved in a church, and became quite comfortable with my little life, never really looking up to the new family in church, or to the new mom struggling in the grocery store. I had to turn my thoughts inward and ask God to forgive me. Now that I'm the new one in town, I realize how isolated it can be, and I'm so sorry for the people that I have hurt in the past. Thankfully, I have met wonderful women, and most wonderfully we now live close to my parents, but I hope this feeling reminds me to look around to those who may be feeling alone and need a friend.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Some Things We're Doing this Summer

Summer has been very lovely for us. We're enjoying every moment we can! I have to agree with some who have said they like blogs that have pictures! Well, since I want others to enjoy my blog - here's a sampling of our activities this summer...in pictures!

My oldest son, with some worms - a "daddy" one, and a "son" one. He brings me something he caught on a daily basis.
My children, enjoying their new water table!

My son testing out our homemade bouncy house!

Another pic of my son on the "bouncy house", caught in mid air. This provided a good hour of some much needed burning off of energy before Daddy came home from work!

My daughter working very hard at the water table.
My daughter enjoying a swim. We haven't used this inflatable pool in a while as we joined the town pool. We're really enjoying going there - every day if we can manage it! Because we just moved to the area, its been a nice way to meet neighbors.

Our oldest son also enjoying the pool!

No he isn't dead! Our boys sleep in a trundle bed. On a typical night, we raise the lower bed to be even with the upper bed and it becomes one king-size bed. One night, our oldest wanted the lower bed kept low, and when my husband and I went in for our nightly tuck-in, we found him under the upper bed! Too funny! He got a real kick the next morning when we showed him this picture!

Poor little girl! No this bruiser isn't from a round of boxing with her brothers! Can you believe that she got bit by a bug (black fly we're guessing!) while watching fireworks! It got much worse and I actually brought her to urgent care where they gave me some medicine to bring the swelling down. As fast as her eye puffed up, it went back down and she was back to her beautiful self in no time!

I hope you too are enjoying your summer!



Stay, stay at home, my heart, and rest;
Home-keeping hearts are happiest,
For those that wander they know not where
Are full of trouble and full of care;
To stay at home is best.

Weary and homesick and distressed,
They wander east, they wander west,
And are baffled and beaten and blown about
By the winds of the wilderness of doubt;
To stay at home is best.

Then stay at home, my heart, and rest;
The bird is safest in its nest;
O'er all that flutter their wings and fly
A hawk is hovering in the sky;
To stay at home is best.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow