Thursday, December 12, 2013

Advent is full of....




The mess that art creates

Unnecessary, but cozy fires

Gingerbread Houses

(from Craigslist!)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Stories From This Morning

Jamie: But, but... but I saught we was havin' a PAHTY?

Me: We did, sweetie. We had a party last night, remember?

Jamie: But... but... but.. NOOOOOOOOOOO (wails of distress) No, we DINT!

Me: Well, we had food and friends and sparkly drinks, remember? Wasn't that a party?

Jamie: But... but... but Annie and Isaiah wasn't dere! Iss NOT a PARTY wizout my FENS!!! (dissolves into a puddle of heartbreak. I mean, the dude was promised a party, for pete's sake...)

Judah, (while cuddling with Mama and getting his back scratched): Mmmm.... I luuuuuuuuuuve back scratches....

Me: So does your daddy. You need to make sure you marry someone who's really good at back-scratching, too.

Judah: I wish I could jis marry YOU, 'cause you're already good at back scratchin'

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Friends, Family and Blog-readers, lend us your ears!!

I come to you, hat in hand, to ask for money. Yes. For money. For the first time in the history of my blog, I am going to use it as a platform to raise money. There's a reason for this. For the first time in the history of this blog I have a really good cause to champion, and an excellent spokeswoman to represent the cause. I give you my daughter, Sofia, and her school's fundraising service project:

Dear family and friends,
I would like to tell you about SALT-- Serving And Learning Together. This is something new our school is doing, where we go out and serve the community. This year, my classmates and I will be going to a local farm and gleaning veggies. In addition to helping the farmer, the food will be going to an organization that will distribute it to homeless people. I would love if you would consider donation $10, $25 or $50 to sponsor my team's work day! The money will go to help my school pay for field trips and more serve-a-thons.  Two years ago our school fundraiser was "Boosterthon". We ran laps around the field to raise money for the school. This year we get to go out and make a difference in our community, instead. You can help, too, by making a contribution to my team through my webpage.

Let me say, by way of parental endorsement, that this program has, in its short life, thoroughly convinced me of its worth. The children are exposed to some of the deep needs of our community in a way that equips them to DEAL with it-- not explain it away, or justify their own non-involvement. I mean, it's one thing for us to tell our kids about the panhandlers under the overpass, and quite another to send them out with their peers and classmates to pick cucumbers to take to the homeless shelters where those men come to be fed. The organizations they worked with last year were impressed by the children's dedication and willingness to serve. Since not all the programs we're partnering with are strictly church-based (although they are all non-profit), it was also an opportunity for our children to show the face, and be the hands and feet of Christ in our city.

My prayer for SALT is that it grows every year and becomes one of the main visuals of our school here- something that people associate Geneva with in an integral way. You can help support Sofi in this toe-dip into ministry by donating. It's not so much about the amount-- just the fact that her family and friends are taking notice and encouraging her in her efforts! She currently has a goal to raise $225 in the next two weeks. Can you help with a gift of $5, $20, or even $50? Every little bit counts!! Click on the link below to join in the project!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Attention Introverts: help me understand my son!

(this started out as an FB post, but I couldn't pare it down enough...)

Judah is an introvert, so I address you for help. Although this may be a Judah problem, not simply an introvert oddity. He is quiet, slow, introspective, prefers intimate interaction to large groups of friends. He enjoys and needs lots of quiet alone time with his thoughts and imagination. I "get" all this. He's like his father and there are many things to love in these expected manifestation of introversion. I have learned that my role in his life is to make sure he still occasionally spends time with other people and learns to reach out of his comfort zone to minister to others.

But there's one aspect to this people-phobic child that I do NOT know how to deal with... He hates change.

Now, hear me out. I'm not talking about your typical child who hates to have his normal routine messed with. I mean, if Judah is coloring and I say it's time to go outside and play, he moans and groans and collapses on the floor in despair. If we're going out to a friend's house for lunch, he nearly has hysterics in the car on the way. Once we're there, he has a lovely time and cries when it's time to leave. It's rest time and he doesn't want to listen to the NEW audiobook. He wants the one he's listened to a hundred times already. If I FORCE him to listen to the new one, he loves it (nine times out of ten) and doesn't want to turn it off when it's time to go swim. Once he's swimming, he can't handle getting out of the pool for a snack. If he's doing math, he HATES language. If he has to stop Language to do Math, he HATES language. If he's playing with playdough, he can't stand the thought of riding his bike or getting out the legos..... Etc.

You see what I mean?

My tactic so far has been to largely ignore all this and go on ahead with my plans, knowing that he'll simply be about 20 min behind me all the way. But I'm starting to wonder if this is something legitimate that I need to consider. Do we simply need LESS variety in our day? Do introverts have a REALLY HARD time switching focus? Is it better to cater to that? Or gradually force him to be able to move from one thing to the next? Should our homeschool look more like one subject per day, instead of 20 min per subject each day?

Saturday, August 17, 2013

My Almost-Not-Quite Big Girl

I had to disappoint my girl today... Something she has been long anticipating with much pleasure is not going to work out this year. She has to wait another year. She took it well and very quietly. She trusts us.

I knew she would....

For all her drama-- and I know I complain about it a lot-- she is actually a pretty happy-go-lucky kid. All the bluster and fluster, all the brouhaha is but a surface storm and tempest. Underneath all that she's so mature, so still, so stable. Like her daddy. Her tears and hysterical laughter are momentary and fickle, but my Sofi-Chicken is such a good girl underneath all that.

And herein lies my hurt today. The very silence and calm that commends her response lets me know how deep in the disappointment may lie. I no longer claim to understand every nuance of her moods and thoughts, but I suspect that this one stuck in.

But I know, too, that she'll soldier on and she might throw a fit tonight about something trivial like bedtime, or how she's The Only One Who Can't whatever, but that will be all we'll see of the little girl inside who got her feelings hurt and was soso disappointed this afternoon.

Growing up hurts.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Just Write: Being Mother

I often wonder at the miracle of the existence of my children's bodies in real space and time...

Sofia's graceful, statuesque beauty. Judah's lanky, lean limbs-- all flop and wiggle, but with a growing hint and shadow of muscle and wiry strength. The round-headed, never-still bundle of kinetic energy that is my Jamie. I sometimes find it hard to imagine that all those things were once contained within my own body. The shock of chubby squish-balls of cuteness slowly morphing over the years into real, live people takes my breath away.

As I watch them run, wrestle, dance, dive and explore; I am also made breathless by the Gift of their health. God have mercy, the pain I have heard and seen in the voices and faces of fathers and mothers close to my heart, as their babies struggle and gasp. How is it, Lord, that my children have strength and breathe freely? That their hearts beat in perfect time? Their synapses fire in excellent rhythms and every rounded cheek and limb sings a symphony?

Ah me, I am undone by smile and laugh and scream of righteous indignation. The shoulder blades and sway-backed swaggers stir in me a Sistine Chapel's worth of passion. I delight in the transformation of baby fat into man-muscles, push-ups and cartwheels. The long brown hair, shy smile, and Daddy's blue eyes in her girl-woman face that still has some slight trace of the face I once held in the crook of my arm.

I think I must have somehow become a Mother.

check out the other bloggers just writing with Heather...

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Perfect Suit

After watching this video on the evolution of swimwear and hearing the Jessica Reys call to a return to modest and classy swimsuits, I have spent All. Day. obsessing over suits. Since we moved into a house-with-a-pool two years ago (what?? has it really been that long?), I find that my bathing suits have become a major part of my wardrobe. At least four months out of the year, I wear one almost every single day. And-- since we have kids and all our friends have kids and kids love pools-- I also find that I'm wearing my bathing suit often when we have people over for dinner and play times and etc. So here I am. Stuck in public (often in mixed company) in a bathing suit. Blah. Not my fav.

Add to this the fact that my recent weight loss has left my former Lands End lovelies... let's say less than "supportive" in certain areas.

Well, you get the picture. I'm wear t-shirts over my suit these days. Yuck.

Anyway, after 12 hours of obsessing, I'm pleased to announce that I have found The Perfect Suit. It is classy. It is modest. It is feminine. It is stylish.



I am going to be saving my pennies for many moons before I actually have a chance to give a formal REVIEW of the product, but in the meantime, I wanted to share this website with all of you! Because it is just that good. They also sell suits for little girls and modest dresses, tees and camis. I love just about everything I saw on the site!

Now I'm going to have to spend another entire day webcrawling to try to find a pattern just like this so I can go make my own, because obviously now that I've found The Perfect Suit, nothing else will do!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

It's too early for this.

It's 8:30 am. 

I have had zero coffee. 

And yet, for some unfathomable reason, my children have decided that this is the optimal time to organize a Family Band. Complete with triangle, tambourine, vocals and a parade aroundandaroundandaround the kitchen/livingroom area. Where I am trying to make breakfast. 

Did I mention I haven't had coffee yet?

The amount of sheer energy bouncing around in my house this morning makes me wonder where these kids came from... What sort of changelings these may be...? Is there somewhere in this universe a Morning Mom, who bounces out of bed every morning, ready and willing to conduct a three-ring-circus, while her three children inexplicably drape themselves over the nearest piece of furniture and beg for coffee and pillow and an eye mask...?

Are they really mine???

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A Post of Un-Answerable Questions

"Are Asgardians made of magic? Is that how they live? They're made of magic? Is that why Thor can touch the end of his hammer and not get dead? Because he's made out of magic?"

"In the Norths Miss (Norse Myths-- an admittedly tricky tongue twister...) on the Kindle they say Loki is a doer of good AND a doer of evil, but in all the Thor movies he's only a bad guy.... Why is that?"

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day!

an excerpt from this meme/post is about the mothers in my life (two grandmothers and mama). this year for the first time, only my mama will be reading...

I am from a bent wire tree covered with amethysts,
From the finger-worn neck of a long-loved fiddle, 

From the whispering scent of Jean Naté and a marbled notebook stacked on a well-worn Bible. 

You gift-givers wove all my life around with music and beautiful words. 

I am from all of you.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Kitchen: Before Pictures

When I posted on FB asking for people's ideas for cheap (free would be better) ways to update our kitchen, everyone asked for pics. So! Here there are. And here's a link to the Pinterest board where I'm keeping track of my ideas so far. We're not replacing the cabinetry at all, but I do plan to paint it-- I bought a priming "system" that's supposed to cover laminate so you can paint with regular latex on top. New hardware and a tile backsplash might possibly be in the budget, too, especially if we can find the materials at the Habitat ReStore.

And by the way, I'm not responsible for that moldy green color on the walls... It was here when we bought the house.

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It's really this "dropped ceiling" lighting that has me down in the dumps.

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It looks so dated and makes the kitchen feel cave-like. It seems like there ought to be some sort of easy fix to update this...

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I'm thinking that perhaps something like this might be our best option... CHeap and easy-- no major construction changes.

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I'm only worried about the deep soffats making the cabinets look so squatty. If you glance back up at the pics of mine above, you can see that there's not really room for nice nice trim along the top edge...

Any way. This is where we're at so far. Any ideas?

Saturday, May 4, 2013

A Saturday Adventure

Sofi's at a birthday party, Daddy's busy with work, Mommy's cleaning and cooking, SO

The boys are going on an adventure!

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Friday, April 26, 2013

Summer lunches...

I was 22 when Sofi was born. I was in a hurry. I wanted lots of children, I wanted them all Now and I wanted everything unpleasant in Motherhood to speed by as quickly as possible.

I spent a lot of the first five years of her life wanting things I couldn't have. I missed a lot of what I did have in the meantime. I sped through her babyhood in a daze. I forget a lot of it.

The big gap between Sofi and Judah represents a lot. Two miscarriages. Lots of tears. Lots of growing. A lot (but not enough yet) of letting go of Me and learning to hold on to Him.

Now I have two boys. I have learned am learning to slow down. God's gift to me is the occasional day like today which starts with my agenda thwarted (by a spill, or a melt-down, or a fight, or....) and then I, slowed down, have time to see what I have here, now, in this moment. The beauty that surrounds me.

Today, by God's grace, I see...

Lunch on the deck

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Silly faces

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Short people

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My Boys

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Sky-high eyelashes

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Chubby baby curves and binkies

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Milk mustaches

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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

My boy...

We read the story of the Martyrdom of Stephan this morning... I explained that they killed Stephan because he talked about Jesus. Judah's thoughts on why the Jews were angry with Jesus...

"They were really mad at him... they were mad 'cause they thought he was gonna fight for them...They thought he was gonna kill all their enemies... fight for them. And he did. He fought for them by dying. He died to fight their sins..."

And another classic Judah moment this morning... 

"Judah, you're doing really well with this-- you're very good at math! (and he really is!)"

As the words left my mouth, he reached for something and knocked a plate full of snacks flying off the table to shatter in a pile of glass shards and pumpkin seeds on the floor.

Agile mind, not so much the body...

Every morning after chores, the boys get a few minutes to wrestle/tussle/play on my bed before school. After listening to this morning's "Play on Mama's Bed" session this morning, I think Jude is quickly regretting his decision to teach Jamie to "Hulk Smash me, Jamie! Hulk Smash me!"

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Twenty-Seven Minutes, Thirty-Five Seconds!!!

Today was a big day for us!!

We woke up at 6:00, threw the kids in the car and took off! We dropped them at a friends house, went by car  to here:

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And spent a loooong tiiiime waiting around:

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To get on a bus to go here:

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In order to spend more time waiting around....

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With all these people:

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J: "Hehe... this is huge... if they gave each of us a spear, we could take over a small country."

And then



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And when we were done (Twenty-seven minutes and thirty-five seconds later)...

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We went to pick up the kids (who had been warned what we would look like when we got back and so were not actually totally scarred by the sight of their parents)

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And then, for the first time that day (at about 11:00),


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And next year, we're taking these adorable kiddoes with us!!!

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Things I learned while writing this post:

1)When J has the camera, suddenly there I am in all the pics!
2) J's camera is way better than mine
3) If you forget to take a pic of something, you can probably fine it on the internet.