Happy Birthday, Alec!

To my oldest:

you are
learning cursive and ready to learn to type
 ready for single-digit multiplication and division
an avid reader
every bit as excited as me (I think!) for our new curriculum this fall
a good student when you have a good attitude

sad that your best friend is gone
being brave about making new friends
excited to see your best friend at his new house
enjoying being social at choir (even though you say you're not!)
learning to be a leader instead of a follower

so creative
so good at playing with Benji
so good at doting on Ava and making her laugh
incredibly talented in the Lego department
beginning to enjoy "Dad stuff": football, basketball, hunting, shooting, mowing the grass (and Dad is loving it!)

You are my dependable one, always there to help out if I'm in a jam
I'm so much looking forward to the years to come,
watching you grow
into a man
(can we skip the teenage years?)

We love you so much!!!

This was our first time to have a birthday party somewhere other than our house.  We took 9 boys bowling.  It was cheap, it was fun, and the house was not messy! We may seriously consider doing this again!!!

We did come back for cake and presents, but by the time that was over, the parents were there. 
Get 'em sugared up and send 'em home!!



Today was beautiful outside, but windy and NOT warm. I'm soooo ready for the heat of summer. I feel like a lizard; I need to lay on a sunny rock to soak up some energy!!

I pushed aside other things to finally work on Ava's clothing situation. I do a little shopping ahead throughout the year mostly at thrift shops, and then when that particular season rolls around, I augment with a few brand-new items.

For some reason there wasn't a whole lot that I had for her this summer, so I ended up spending more than I would normally.  We got some cute stuff, though, and she had fun trying it on today while I made outfits with her old stuff and sorted out donations and too-smalls.

I also made bread, tweaked the recipe a little again, and was NOT disappointed! We'll see how it tastes tomorrow; that's always the test with homemade bread.

Benji had a really good attitude today while we worked on reading, and is progressing nicely all of a sudden. I have a feeling that by the end of the summer he'll be off and rollin'. That will be a big relief!

The kids ended up outside most of the day (when they weren't eating or doing math and reading), and played exterminator, filling the carpenter bee holes in our play set with silly string from the dollar store!!

I skipped my workout this morning, trying to give my poor shins a break. Since I"ve stopped running, they feel a ton better, but are still abnormally sore throughout the day.  I'm also still freaking out about my hair loss.  It seems to have tapered off in the past couple days, but now I'm left with about 1/3 less hair and it's making me quite depressed. My hair is one of the few things I actually like about my physical appearance, and never took for granted, since I had been a hairdresser and seen how awful thin hair can be. I guess now it's my turn!

It will grow back, and no one can tell (or maybe everyone is lying to me!), so I probably need to just suck it up and make the best of it till it's back to normal...Kick in quickly, B vitamins and thyroid supplements!!!

I played around with my new Speedlite flash today and made some progress...I'm a self-teacher, I learn best by trial and error. I have had some help from a friend's husband who is a photographer for our big-city newspaper, and that has been great to get me started. I'm looking forward to getting a better grasp on how to adjust everything.

It's late now, I really should be in bed, and the old drafty windows by my computer are letting in the cold night air and my hands are freezing!!

~till tomorrow


homeade Cough Remedy

A couple posts ago, I mentioned that I used a homemade Cough Remedy for my kids and had folks interested in my recipe. So...here's what we use at our house when my kids get that nasty, dry, croupy cough:

roughly equal parts of
RAW honey
FRESH, RAW garlic (minced or through a garlic press)

I mix it together and keep it in a glass jar in the fridge.  Then I give whomever is barking about 1-4 tsp of it, spread out through the day.  We have yet to see a cough that hasn't responded within 24 hours.



Today was beautiful!  I started it by waking up even earlier (WaHOO!, I'm slowly working towards my goal of 6am) and doing a really great 40 min. cardio session on the treadmill.  At my chiro's yesterday, she said she was worried about stress fractures in my shins because I was continuing to have pain when I was running, so no more running for me for many months! *sigh* So I resigned myself to an extra long workout of power walking.  It was actually great and after about 10 min. of reminding myself not to run, I actually (sort of) enjoyed it.

Then we had our women's group at church. We have a couple sweet girls that babysit for us, so it's unadulterated adult time, with good teaching and prayer. It was great today, we were wrapping up our series on the power of words, and we all shared testimonies about encouragement.

I'm going to head up a team to remodel the three bathrooms at our church building, and so we had our preliminary meeting after group. That also went really well and I am totally psyched about turning our drab,dimly lit, stinky bathrooms into welcoming retreats!! High hopes for a lowly bathroom, right? Something involving re-claimed chandeliers!

Afterward, I had to lay on a chair in the backyard while the kids played because on came another headache. It lingered through a dose of Tylenol, a siesta in the sun, an impromptu visit from a friend and her kids, and it's threatening to stick around for our bible study tonight.

I did not have the productive day I had hoped, but it was a beautiful day nonetheless, filled with sunshine and Sonshine!

I'm off to snuggle with an ice pack!

~till tomorrow~



{I'd like to post a little daily journal this summer}

This morning we all woke early for a 9:30 appointment with our beloved holistic chiropractor, Dr. Jen, about 50 minutes away.  The appointments went well, I'm needing some B vitamins and thyroid support to stop the alarming amount of hair loss that's been occurring lately. Benji is still allergic to eggs, oats, wheat and dairy, but is still testing OK to eat corn. Whew! I'd like to procure a duck egg from someone and have her test that on him to see if he can eat those.

Afterward, we went to a nearby health food store so I could get our organic oats, organic popcorn (grains are VERY heavily sprayed with pesticides- a very important item to get organically if you need to pick and choose), goat yogurt, raw milk cheese, and raw honey for the honey/garlic cough medicine I make for the kids.

Then I dropped the kids off at my parent's house and went to Target (LOVE that store!) and Old Navy to finish up Ava's wardrobe for the summer.  Got some good deals, but would have preferred to find it all for 1/2 price at the Goodwill store! They just didn't have much for her this time.

Now we're home, it's after 6, and I have dinner cooking. Free range, organic chicken drumsticks, fresh organic baby salad greens, and strawberry shortcake (from scratch, of course!). Yum!

After dinner, we're going outside to start spreading the 45 bags of mulch we got last weekend for our playground area. Alec's birthday party is this weekend, and we'll have 8 WILD boys using it like  monkeys at the zoo!

~till tomorrow


Wordless Wednesday


just me talking...

Today has gone better.  I've been convicted that I need to have a quite time each day now (for so long I was in a season of grace with little ones, and the Lord met me there, but now they're older, and no babies currently), and have been trying to wake earlier so I can spend more time with my precious, hardworking husband.

The waking early thing isn't working too well, but I've been able to have quiet time a couple mornings just before the kids get up.  I'm also struggling with how to fit in my workouts, wanting to do that also in the morning, but feeling like quiet time, jogging, AND my morning routine (laundry, dishwasher, etc.) is just a little much. I'd have to get up at, like, 5 or something! I don't think so.

I did manage a few minutes with my Bible this morning, but my workout got pushed back to after lunch, in favor of school.  It worked out OK, but so much got in the way that by the time I got off the treadmill (after applying my monthly haircolor so it could process while I ran!) and showered, we were late for choir practice.

I just shooed the kiddos out to the back yard so I could have a minute to myself. I really feel like I have SO much to do around the house and absolutely NO time to do it. Right now, I need to fold two loads of laundry that's sitting on our bed so we can go to sleep tonight, finish making dinner, make a meeUp for a customer, print a shipping label to send a package to a friend, sweep and mop the kitchen floor, and vacuum up some dried leaves and yard debris that got tracked into our bedroom. And that's not including my list of normal day-to-day chores that I haven't even touched yet!!

I feel such an urge right now to really do some deep cleaning and sorting; there's a shift in what the priorities are here now, and our house needs to shift along with it.  Not sure where I"ll get time to make it happen; anyone got any extra you could send my way? I'll pay you well!


the Feeling

It's happening again.

 That helpless feeling of being totally out of control, raw, and vulnerable,
like being naked in front of a thousand onlookers

The rooms in my house are jeering at me as I walk through,
screaming to me to rescue them from clutter and dirt

I forsake all actions pertaining to myself and bounce from child to child and room to room
like a frantic ping-pong ball.
At the end of the day I feel fragile and wasted...
body, mind and spirit

This is an attack from the enemy, a futile attempt to derail my plans for time spent alone with my King
and plans for time spent in God's word with my kids

I will keep trying, Truth will prevail

With my Father's help, 
I will replace a spirit of chaos and discontent
order and peace

I WILL rise above the earthly cacophony and forge ahead with the plans laid out for me and my family

Jeremiah 29:11-14
"For I know the plans I have for you", declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you," declares the Lord,"and will bring you back from captivity.  I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you," declares the Lord, "and will bring you back from the place from which I carried you into exile."


Green Day

every spring
I have a ritual

once a day
I look out of the window at the top of the stairs
close to the top of the trees
in our back yard

I stare hard at the red and brown buds 
on the tips of the branches


that this year 
will finally be the year
that I see the day

the sky turns green

I never do.


Wordless Wednesday


for you...

this is for all of you who want to read my mental overflow...

I'm so glad it's finally spring.  Finally warm enough for me to consider unwinding my ever present wool scarf  and try on a pair of flip-flops. But, this is what I call Yo-Yo Weather.  For several days we will be digging into the summer bins and then we'll suddenly have to get out a coat and hat.

We have a severe shortage of storage here, and I always look towards this time of year with mixed feelings. Happy for the warmth, dreading the Big Switch. We don't have room to keep both seasons of clothing usable, and I keep Alec's hand-me-downs for Benji, so the clothing swap is a bit of a nightmare twice a year.

We're almost through our first year of home education! While I give myself a huge pat on the back, I feel like I could have done it better. I asked Alec today and he agreed that he liked it, but it could have been more fun. I was told by a wise friend recently that homeschooling shouldn't be about what you teach, but about how you teach it.  You should be teaching not for teaching's sake, but to give the student tools with which to learn anything, and a fire in their belly for knowledge.

I'm prayerfully considering switching curriculum, and have been looking at different science and history options, as well as looking for a study on the Fruit of the Spirit suitable for young children.  If any of you reading this are home educators and have any thoughts to share on these subjects, I'd greatly appreciate it.

I"m also trying to decide if I should purchase a pool membership this summer.  Our swimming season is only 12 weeks long, one of which we will be at our cottage in Lakeside. On the other hand, if I purchase it this month, I receive a 10% discount, and we only live two blocks from the pool, AND it is newly remodeled with a nice, zero entry area for preschoolers with slides, fountains, etc. But do I want to make that my summertime commitment? If I didn't, what else would we be doing?

We'll be gardening, doing light school work, going to the zoo, hopefully some more work on the house, hanging out with friends, and, well...maybe going to the pool a couple times a week!

I'm really overwhelmed right now with laundry, dirty floors, lack of desire to cook, strong desire to exercise but no time, excitement for our upcoming trip to visit friends, feelings of dread and claustrophobia about the two day drive to get there, too much clutter, too many things standing in my way and preventing me from being able to purge, having roller-coaster emotions about so many changes in our life


riding it all out on the current of Jesus' unconditional love for my completely imperfect self.


what's really going on here...

by "here" I don't really mean in the picture, although that could relate

by "here" I mean here at our house, since returning from our too-good-to-be-true trip to Sunshine Land

the Real Story of our vacation is this:

we had an an incredible time, we held hands, we walked on the beach, we laughed at tacky tourist shops and scantily clad grandparents, we ate some AMAZING food that we paid an AMAZING (high) price for, I had time to shower, shave, and apply lotion every day (imagine that!), we thought about no one but each other, we both got terrifically sea sick for the first time in our lives, I remembered what it was like to have one sole person encompass my universe, we saw miles of dead jellyfish and I vainly attempted to return one of them to the sea, we did not fight, we had several uninterrupted, meaningful conversations about something other than children, we laughed, loved and learned more about each other

the Real Story of our return is this:

I was nauseated from the plane, Marvin was tired, the kids were delighted, we were glad to be home, then the tears came. Hysterics, actually. From all three of them. Pertaining to lack of sleep in their own beds, relief, and the inability to wait another second for their souvenirs.

Now that the pandemonium is all over with, and I am no longer craving solitary, sunny, seaside bliss, we are eagerly working forward toward the end of May, when we go to visit THEM!!

We have about 5 weeks left of our regular curriculum, and will finish up right before we leave.

In the meantime, I'm enjoying our early warm weather, planning a 9th birthday party, starting on a quilt, and organizing shorts and T shirts...and blogging!

Wordless Wednesday


last week

.we flew away.

.to a tropical resort.

.with a tranquil view.

.of a beautiful beach.

.by a blue green ocean.

.we dressed up.

.many times.

.we went.

.to glamorous parties.

.we sailed the open seas.

.saw wonders of nature.

.visited with strangers.

.and glimpsed a bit of history on the way home.

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