Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Magic Wands

I took Summer shopping today since she officially passed her kindergarten math. I had promised her something when she did. She took it very seriously.

After much deliberation, she chose a skateboard. She said it was okay for girls to skateboard if it had princesses on it. (She is used to seeing the older boys across the street do tricks in the driveway...they only have ugly boy skateboards.)

She also chose a book of ideas on things to make with jewels. We decided to make our own magic wands.

We taped 2 craft sticks together with pink duct tape

Then glued on the jewels, stuck on stickers, and colored with sharpies. Viola! Magic wands.  I told them they could use them tomorrow after they dry to magically clean my kitchen.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Family Love Fun

One way to feel the love in a family is to have rituals, stories, and  routines that are exclusive to a particular family. I don't mean "inside jokes". I hate those because they leave others out. Anyone can jump into our silly habits and imaginations, but it is mostly managed by someone in the family. Here are some that we had growing up and some in my family now:

  • If you want to tell someone "I love you" without saying it, squeeze them 3 times.
  • If a member of the family drops or spills food at the table, my Dad always says, "are you feeding Marvin down there?"
  • We have an invisible member of the family, Simon. We talk about him and to him, even buckle his seat belt in the car.
  • When I am driving and can't actually look at the kids and talk to them, Mr. Hand does the talking. Sometimes he sings them songs, too.
  • It is a well known fact that if you eat too many pink cupcakes you will wake up pink in the morning.
  • Friday night is pajama party night. We watch a movie (could be a short movie) and paint nails.
  • We make smoothies just before bedtime in the summer and hot chocolate in the winter. 
  • If something goes wrong, the appropriate word of frustration is "drat" or "drats", just like Toad.
  • Hugs and back rubs are a great way to start the day.
  • Jelly Telly is watched every morning during breakfast. That is the only show unless a movie is appropriate during the day.
  • Daddy holds them down on the floor and kisses them "too much". Funny how they wait around for their turn to be kissed too much.
  • We name the parks around here our own names, "the house park", "the castle park", "the dinosaur park", "the nature park"...
  • If someone is being especially grumpy, it is necessary for me to find their "happy button". It is usually on their belly somewhere or right under their arm.
  • Nicknames and rhymes made up for each member of the family are fun. Even Max (1 year old) gets that when we call him "Tiger" he growls.
  • Their favorite Shel Silverstein poem is "Backwards Bill". They like to put pajama pants on their head, eat corn for dessert, or have breakfast at night, just like Backwards Bill.
That's all I can think of for now! Have fun with family time!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Sunrise, The Sunset

I woke, without alarm, just in the right time. I promptly got up and went to look out my sliding glass door. I was just going to sit on the floor and look out the window, but the sunrise was positioned in a way that it was necessary to actually go outside. It was like a beckoning, come a little closer, come and experience the fullness of this sky art.

What a blessing. I didn't want to move, but camera was just on the other side of the sliding door so I took a few seconds to go get it. My pictures don't do it justice.

It started out very bland but over the eight minutes or so I sat there it intensified greatly. The clouds that covered the blue above the morning colors made it even more beautiful! The morning air was so refreshing compared to the hot, humid summer days. The only thing I could do was praise God. I could have stayed longer but I knew I should go get some more sleep- a precious commodity for me. Maybe I will tomorrow.


As the day was winding down, I was reading Alice in Wonderland to the children and Summer pulled open the curtains in the living room. Not just the sky, but the entire evening light was tinted in pink. We sat outside for a few minutes. Again, the air was cool. Children were still enjoying the last minutes of the day. Joy filled my heart again, just as the sunrise did.

 I don't live in a place where the majority of the world would know for it's natural beauty, but Kansas is definitely a beautiful place. Taking time to enjoy it is the key.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Happily Ever After, My Foot.

Eight years. Eight loooong years. I know why most marriages end in divorce- because it is so darn hard. And what's worse is that this is the exact opposite of what you were expecting.

Instead of life getting better it got much worse.

First year anniversary we had an 8 month old, had lost his job, started a business, and had no money.

Second year anniversary I was fat and pregnant with number two, still low on funds, driving my Grandmother's old car without air conditioning.

Third year I was newly pregnant again. Natural Family Planning- we just weren't very good at it.

Fourth year I managed to prevent any pregnancies, probably because I didn't like him very much.

Fifth year I realized I had to like him because I can't raise 3 kids on my own.

Sixth year I went back to work full time and things were better...maybe because we never saw each other?

Seventh year. Still hard, but love 'em to death. Or till death.

Eighth year. Sigh. Wouldn't change anything. If I have to go through this, he is the one I want to be with. He can calm me down by putting things into perspective, and he has learned to take my concerns very seriously. He listens and does not criticize. He is not perfect, and I like that. I have thought before if only.......but really no scenario is satisfying to me. I've found it best to quit wishing for something different and open my eyes to all the blessings I have.

It is not anything like I dreamed of. I suspect it won't be. But wait- the last eight years I have learned what true unconditional love means, I have grown my patience, I have gotten over how great I am (because this marriage has brought out the worst in me at times), I have seen my husband grow into a man that puts his family before himself, we have been tried, refined, and came out alive.

 I am so very fortunate to have a spouse that is willing to work through the tough times and does not easily give up. He is strong enough that when I don't have the faith to keep going, he will carry me through. He also shares my faith and strengthens it. We are now a team. I love you, Sook. But there is no happily ever after. Only more trials, victories, sweat, tears, joys, celebrations...well, life until death.

Monday, June 21, 2010

My New Adventure

Sometimes life just seems your foundations could crumble. That's how I have felt lately.

If you are a christian, you probably know why. I got lazy, but God didn't. Last week I went to my Mom and Dad's house. I knew my back tires were getting bad but there was something I didn't know. One of the front tires was about to split open. Meanwhile, my car started making a funny noise. Dad thought it was probably just a rock wedged in somewhere (they live on dirt roads). He found the rock and took it out. We discussed getting it looked at but the noise was gone. I mentioned to him that I did need new tires and an alignment but the local shop didn't have time for an alignment so I told him I'd take care of it at home. As he was going into town the next day, he started driving his truck but turned around because something told him to take my car in anyway. I probably wouldn't have made the 2 1/2 hour trip back without some serious troubles with my precious cargo on board.

This is not a coincidence...I have countless stories of God watching while I was unaware of troubles. This happened when I was not being strong in my faith, so what would happen if it was stronger?

I am the kind of person that when I find something works I stick with it whole heartedly. A way of disciplining my kids, for example. If I find it works, why go looking around for other ideas? They just confuse me. I have been a believer in Jesus since I can remember but I wouldn't stick with this faith if I didn't really think it was true. Time and experience has just strengthened what I was taught since childhood.

This is how I see life:

You wake up in the morning, grab a cup of coffee, and sit on the back deck just as the sun is starting to rise. It is truly a majestic gift from God to be able to watch the sky no matter what time of day, but there is something special about the sunrise.

However, just as the sun starts to color the morning sky, small but ugly distractions start tugging at you, trying to get your attention. These distractions have names such as worry, insecurity, self doubt, fear, and criticism, to name a few.

They keep tugging and you struggle to concentrate on the awesomeness of the giant sky that fills your heart with joy, peace, contentment, and security. One second is all it takes to look down and make eye contact with one of your distraction and you will miss the glorious beauty of that sunrise.

I don't want to miss the sunrise.
I don't want to miss out on God's best for me.

I just want to look to Jesus. No other religion, no other person, no other good deed. Although Jesus can use others to help me, ultimately my eyes must stay on HIM.

I was convicted today to concentrate on looking to Jesus each day for a year. AND...dare I say it? To watch the sunrise every morning. Conveniently on the longest day of the year. This is my new adventure. I hope to share struggles and victories as I go. Think I'm crazy? Don't care. That would be a distraction.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Sitting in the Dr.'s office today I saw an article about the importance of Dads in children's lives. I just skimmed through it but something stuck out to me. Dads usually bring a whole lot of fun to a family.

Does any Mom wanna join me in confessing about the eye rolls and sighs or even outright criticism for Dad's lack of rule following and complete disregard for "normal" (since Moms are so normal) order of business around the house?

How come Dads always want to play with the children right before bedtime instead of calming them down? Or decide that ice cream would be nice right before lunch? Even teach them bad habits that would embarrass any Mom if repeated in public?

If you agree, maybe it's time for us to lighten up a little. Maybe Dads know what they are doing....or maybe not, but at least God does and He made them that way for a reason.

I went to work today.....
This is what Sook bought for the kids to eat for breakfast this morning. Pure. Sugar.

The geniuses at Fruit Loops decided that their loops weren't sugary enough so they decided to put marshmallows in with it that look like fruit. And then put a little sign on front that says "good source of vitamin D." Such a pet peeve of mine. He looked a little guilty when he pulled it out this morning. That's not the worst of it, though. When I got home the entire box was empty!! They snacked on it all day!

The girls drew belly badges on their stomachs like the Care Bears. I wonder if he even knew about this....

I saw him feed Max right off the floor.

You know what? They love it when I go to work. And no one died, no ER trips, no cops were involved....yet.

Oh, and the laundry is almost done!

The wonderful things they get to do with Daddy....

He took all 4 of them to Old Shawnee Days while I went to a Bachelorette Party!

Lots of sugar.....

Just being goofy.

Daddy brings something to the family that I could never do alone. AND he brings home the bacon, too. My children and I are blessed.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Freddy Frog

This is who Summer found on our window screen tonight. She named him Freddy. We just watched him eat bugs and talked about why he would be on our window.

So I didn't get to clean like I had planned.

I love it when life gives us unexpected entertainment. (and diversions to cleaning)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Berry Painting

Today we did watercolor paintings from berries.

We used blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries.

To make watercolors:

  • Take 1/2 cup of berries (fresh or frozen, thawed. We use frozen because it's cheaper)

  • Pour in 1/4 cup water.

  • Take a potato masher or fork and mash them up.

  • Strain the juice into a plastic storage container.

  • Take watercolor paper and draw a picture with markers, if you want.

  • Then paint! Be sure to protect clothes and floor!

Savannah's blueberries

Brookie style

Summer and I did hearts

We also ate berries while we painted.......
Max is mad because he wants more blueberries

It's official. We like berries, just like the bears.

Other berry ideas:

Make Strawberry Ice
1 15oz container frozen strawberries, slightly thawed.
approx half that (1 cup) water 1/2 cup superfine sugar

Blend in a blender well. Then detach the blender pitcher and stick the whole thing in the freezer. Freeze for at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Stir once more then blend again, serve.

Your favorite blueberry muffins, blackberry pie, or raspberry tart.
Or a mixed up berry smoothie:

2 cups yogurt
1 cup milk
1 cup mixed berries
2 bananas
2 pkg Stevia

Mix in a blender, enjoy!

Go Berry picking!!!!!!!

Draw berries

Go on a hunt for wild berries but be sure to know what you are trying before you taste...........

Discuss what animals eat berries

and eat and eat and eat more berries!