Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Joshua's Birthday

Joshua is officially a toddler now. Today is his birthday! It's funny how when they turn a year older, they all of a sudden act older. Today he pointed at his sister and said"Na-na" (Hannah), very matter-of-factly. Then, John said "hi" to him and he responded with "hi-non"! Has he been talking like this for a while and I haven't noticed or has he just matured overnight? I'm going to bake him a cake (allergy free due to his myriad of food allergies) and let him dive in tonight. That should be fun, I love watching that, even though I KNOW the sugar buzz (or honey buzz, as the case may be) is sure to follow, but it's still worth it.
I know this is very cliche, but it seems like just yesterday...

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Single Parenting Stinks...Period.

Be thinking of us this week as Michael will be gone to San Diego. I tried to whine my way out of it, but it didn't work. I tried pouting, glaring, then the "I don't like you anymore" tactics, but none of them were successful. I will be alone for four days with four kids. That sounds like a reality TV program. Yikes! Anyone got suggestions for how to keep my house from total disaster or how to keep from being the "evil mommy" (I know you've all met her)?
I don't do single parenting well. I complain a lot, whine a little, and try to stay busy and distracted. I wish I had planned something fun in advance with the kids, but it kind of snuck up on me.
Sooo... Here I am, on the eve of single-parentdom, with nothing planned. Maybe we could reorganize his tools? Rearrange the office? I know!! Go through his clothes and cull out underwear and socks! I'm open to suggestions...

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Sing to Him a New Song!

Michael, Matthew and Hannah are gone for most of the day at a JBQ meet. That leaves me alone with the two little boys. It's kind of nice to be able to spend time alone with them. They often don't get much focussed attention when we are homeschooling. They get directed to their toys, a snack, a (gasp!) movie... right now John is next to me, playing with his ear, sucking on his finger, and rubbing his face on my arm. Getting his mommy time. Earlier, he and Joshua endured my "guitar playing", if you could call it that. I entertained them with classics like "The Wheels on the Bus", "Baby Beluga", and "Chicken Lips and Lizard Hips" (my personal favorite).
Last night I struggled through and sang badly "How Great is Our God". It was a proud moment for me! I wish I would have inherited the music talent, but I didn't. However, I did inherit the love of music and the desire to sing and worship. How frustrating it is for me to have the song in my heart and not be able to sing it. Those of you who can sing and sound good, or play an instrument effortlessly, I applaud you. Sing to the Lord a new song. Worship the King with your voices, bring to Him an offering of praise with your harps, lyres, or kazoos. I will be singing along, trying to follow your lead. I will strum softly, so only the Lord can hear.
My only desire is to bring Him an offering of praise. To be in His presence, to know the Creator and King on a deeper and more intimate level. I want to teach my children, above all else, a love and fear of the Lord. I want our home to be an atmosphere of prayer and worship, where Jesus is revered and honored and glorified. Just so you know, the music ain't pretty, and the sound is sometimes painful. However, it is from my heart.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Virtual Coffee, Anyone?

I had no idea when I started this last weekend, out of sheer boredom, that it would have been so fun! This is great. Most of you I hardly ever see, let alone have time to chat with. I count myself very fortunate to have such wonderful friends. BTW, I like Starbucks, black, no garbage added, just pure, unadulterated caffeine.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Spring is Here!

I try every year to have a good garden, thinking I will do all this canning and freezing that will reduce our grocery bill to near zero. I convince my husband that if we plant all these seeds (6 varieties of tomatoes, 4 varieties of peppers, 1/2 an acre of green beans...) that we will be virtually self-sufficient. My garden could quite possibly take care of all our financial needs! Then with the extra, we could do Farmer's Market (ha, ha, ha). Yes I will have time to weed it! Plus the kids are getting older and they are actually capable of some real help now, so you (Michael) won't even notice the two acres of tomatoes and fifty rows of green beans. (I forget that I really don't even like canned OR frozen beans).
When the seeds arrive our basement is filled with grow lights and tray after tray of seeds in their cute little pods. Then they sprout and grow and need to be repotted. Then we run out of space, we run out of lights, and from the outside it looks like I'm growing marijuana in the basement. I never seem to remember that 100 tomato plants is slightly more than we need. I figure there will be some lost to disease, drought, or pests. Not so... they NEVER die. In fact, I believe some tomato plants enjoy a good flogging (Right, April?)
True to self, this year is no exception. I just got home from a day spent with a group of wonderfully garden-wise ladies, including April, my garden guru. (you are such an inspiration to me, April, but you do tend to fuel my mission-creep!) I think this year will be our biggest garden yet. (I hope you're reading this, Michael, so you have a chance to cool down before you come home!) I have LOTS of zucchini, dill (it looks like about 500 seeds of dill- Who did that to me??)collards, brussels sprouts, celery (April says, yes I CAN grow it), 1/2 lb of green bean seeds, purple beans, yellow beans, sugar snap peas, snow peas, orange peppers, acorn squash, spinach, brandywine tomatoes, scallions, rainbow carrots, regular carrots (note: my carrots are STILL in the garden from last summer!) parsley, leeks, two kinds of cucumbers, more kinds of lettuce than I care to list (I think there is at least 5 varieties in this bag), eggplant (I have NO idea why, it sounded good in January), two kinds of green peppers, Bok Choy, Rutabagas (for Mark Pelzer, his from last summer are hanging out with the carrots) more tomatoes, Watermelon (I haven't a clue where to plant it. Maybe at YOUR house!) cherry tomatoes, tomatillos, cabbage, Roma tomatoes, pumpkins, buttercup squash, cilantro, basil, lipstick peppers, jalepenos, black crim tomatoes, and radishes. Now... the flowers! I have Lemon balm (I think that's an herb, not a flower), Calendula, Sunflowers, Euphorbia (does anyone know what this is? I said I would take it because it sounded good. You know, like euphoria? I like that state of mind, so hopefully these little plants will bring me joy). Zinnias, Love-lies-bleeding, and LOTS of morning glories (they do make me happy).
I admit it. I have a problem.
I get the seed catalogs in January and I somehow forget how blasted hot it is in August and how unbelievably fast and adaptable those weeds are. I also forget the passive-aggressive, not very subtle, non-verbal fights Michael and I have while weeding into the night in complete silence. I know the only reason he is doing it is to salvage at least a portion of his investment. It is NOT because he enjoys gardening. It is likely also because he loves me and wants to see my visions succeed. I forget that I HATE the feeling of dirt drying on my hands (does anyone else suffer from this phenomenon?). I forget that I plant eight rows of peas, eat a few while weeding, maybe fix a couple stir-fries, then the rest dry up on the vine (again, I love them fresh, not frozen).
I think what I love is dreaming.
I love to plan and think about what we could do if... I love the idea of having row after row of well manicured plants. I love the idea of doing it all ourselves. I can't say I love actually DOING it. This is where the fear begins to set in...
Honey... our garden is here... We will have plenty... the kids will help... it will be (gulp) worth it...
I love you Michael. You're my finisher.
Anyone need tomatoes?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Joshua is Walking!

Joshua walked all the way across the living room floor all by himself. He would stop every few steps and clap for himself. Yay! He gets a huge round of applause from all of us, which usually makes him fall down from excitement, but not today! He did the real thing. What a big boy.
His birthday is in one week, then he is officially a toddler... Look out and lock those cabinets!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Mondays are for Character Building

Here is a typical Monday at our house...
I oversleep because I'm tired from working 3 12hr shifts. The kids are refreshed after a relaxing weekend with Daddy (and have slept in already the past two mornings) and get up early. They are able to feed themselves breakfast, but sometimes (like this morning) there are LOTS of Cheerios on the living room carpet. I wake up to Michael saying goodbye, which is two hours later than I like to get up. I spend the rest of the day scrambling to catch up with my troops. I have to make lots of important decisions (executive decisions) like: Read my Bible and pray now or in the afternoon when I have that quiet time that never really happens? Shower now or walk around grungy (sp?) and itchy 'til noon? Start schoolwork now, on time and forget my morning routine, or do my morning routine and start school late (which inevitably leads to slice and dice of assignments, so I guess that's out...)? Start supper, or plan for a frozen pizza or pb&j night? Okay, now how 'bout that laundry?
I used to have unrealistic expectations for Mondays. I thought I could get up on time, have an amazing mountain-top experience with the Lord, be showered, hair done, make-up on, Michael's lunch made, coffee brewed, breakfast made, the first load of laundry in, and supper in the crock pot before 7am. I surrender. I can't do it. I've found it IS best for all of us if I sleep in a bit on Monday, the laundry gets started, but maybe not finished 'til Wednesday, and baby Joshua gets a little more "mommy-time". Michael reheats yesterday's coffee and puts together his own lunch (he NEVER expects me to do these things for him and always seems joyful and surprised when I do). We do our school work with fits and starts as we all are trying to get back on track. Amazingly, we do manage to get things done before Daddy gets home and there is a lot less blood shed.
I think my family likes me a lot more when I freak out less. That's my goal: to be a freakless mommy.
Ok, now, off to violin lessons, swimming lessons at the YMCA, home for a slam-it-down-your-gullet supper, then off to a 4H sledding party.
I am calm.
I am in control.
I have no idea what my kids are doing right now...

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Will you still love me if I blog?

I was so excited about actually getting this blog started, I had to call home right away. "Honey! Honey! I made a blog!!!" He, being the big computer programmer and all, I figured he would be down right proud. He was, at least over the phone. Now that my long weekend of 12 hour shifts is over and the kids need tucking in, laundry is piling up (to the point of being measured as altitude), I'm thinking his enthusiasm may be short-lived. This could be addictive... must pace myself...I'm sure I can handle it. I'll just get up extra early and start the laundry then. Michael can eat my lunch left-overs from today for his lunch Monday, etc.
I suppose I should call it a day, he's graciously attempting to do our taxes with his palm pilot.
I love that man!!

The Journey to Contentment

Would anyone like a "do-over"? I think my biggest regret of my life is how much time I wasted being dissatisfied. As I look back at our marriage, my career, my role as a mom, and my faith, this is what has derailed me over and over. Almost 5 years ago, after the sudden death of my dad at age 57, I woke up. Nothing like losing someone you love to help you re-evaluate your goals and direction! I realized that the bottom line was that my career would never be remembered by my children. How clean my house was would never be remembered by my friends (or the neighbors!). What I wore, what I drove, and how much money I had was completely meaningless. They are things that pass away.
My transformation was not instant. We Americans expect things instantly and easily. We are a remote control, microwave people who expect God to behave that way. It took me years to learn He doesn't. He is faithful, though. I look back on myself as someone who always wanted more. Once I got what I wanted, I wasn't happy with that, I was on to something else. I'm thankful my husband is generally content and demands very little or we wouldn't have lasted 6 months! Ironically his contentedness drove me crazy... now I appreciate it as a gift.
So, 5 years ago I had 2 children enrolled in the local school. I was working hard on my career, we were planning a beautiful new home, our dream house. We were living the dual career typical American lifestyle. Then God began to lead us gently down a different path...or perhaps I just started to listen to that still, small voice.