Blogging break

I'm feeling the need for a blogging break, so I'm taking one. From posting and from reading.

We have a couple of rooms to paint, our back garden to plant, and some other household stuff that needs to be done. [But last week? Mark cleaned the back porch! And it looks WONDERFUL!]

And I'm feeling that pull to enjoy the life that happens around here rather than the life that takes place behind this computer screen.

But most importantly, I need to get back into the habit of rising early in order to spend time with Jesus. [Actually, the real struggle for me has always been getting to bed early enough so that I can get enough rest when I do get up early.] This habit of getting up early has been a bit hit-and-miss of late. With it being so light now, early in the mornings, the kids have been getting up much earlier which means that for me to have some quiet time (something I've found I desperately need at the beginning of my days), I need to get up even earlier than they are rising. And that's just plain early.

There is a stark difference in my parenting (more anger, more criticism, a lack of patience and self-control on my part), when I am not faithful to get up, and it's becoming painfully obvious (by an influx of the above behaviors) that I need to get this habit solidified in my life once again.

I will continue to check email so if you want to reach me that way, I'd love to hear from you.

Blessings to each and every one of you!



The rain abated today so we were able to plant our main garden! YAY!


peas [we actually planted our peas two days ago, hence the different outfits in the pictures]
bush beans
lettuce (two varieties)

I was all excited about planting my Roma tomatoes, which will come in awfully handy for salsas, pico de gallo, and salads. But then today when I read the back of the seed packet it said we were supposed to start those indoors. The package actually says: Sowing Outdoors: Not recommended. I was more than a little deflated when I read that. I will be pretty disappointed if they don't come up.

Also... our strawberries are happily growing and our rhubarb is ready for its first picking.

We still need to plant our pumpkins, squash and gourds. Those go in our back garden space. And I still need to plant my herb garden, which got cleared out today (thank you, honey!) so now it's all ready for planting.

It's a huge relief to have the majority of our stuff planted. ~Whew!~


ps: I bought a Moby Wrap yesterday, (as seen in the above photos) and I love it. (So does Addie.) It's exactly what I was looking for. It's made of comfy, stretchy knit fabric -just one long strip, really- and your baby (up to 35 lbs) can be held in a variety of positions. Here's a close-up picture for anyone who's interested:

Thoughts while making dinner

::You'd think by now, someone somewhere would have worked up a new design for the baking soda box. Really. Does anyone at Arm & Hammer really think they've got a good thing going for them with that whole rip-out-the-tab-on-the-side-of-the-box idea? I seriously wonder this. Isn't it plain to everyone that it's no small feat to stick a teaspoon in there and come back out with something on the teaspoon? Why haven't they done something about that?

::And can I just ask this? Because I puzzle over this every time I need to buy some more salt. Do I want the iodide? Or not? I have no idea. If anyone has figured this out, will you please enlighten me?

::I love the sound of my husband reading stories to our kids on the couch. Lots of giggles when daddy reads.

::There is something so satisfying about washing dishes by hand.

::One bowl. I'm only having one bowl of that soup tonight. One. And one muffin. That's all. [That's been my mantra as I prepared dinner tonight.]

On the menu?
Loaded baked potato soup [Never made it before. But it looks yummy! And Mark is sick with a really bad cold/sinus headache, so hopefully it will be good comfort food for him.]
Bran-applesauce muffins

Sounds sort of bleak, doesn't it? Just those two things? Oh well. That's what we're having.

What'd you eat for dinner?

Someone please remind me...

...when Fall comes, and I rant and rave all about how Fall is my very favorite season.... will someone just remind me of these?

Because I cannot even begin to tell you how happy it makes me that my lilacs are blooming. I love lilacs. How could Fall possibly be my favorite season when there are no lilacs in the Fall?

I stand corrected.

Spring. Spring is my favorite season. Spring brings lilacs. And hydrangeas (a very close second favorite flower of mine. And peonies. (A very close third.) And dahlias. (Fourth.) Oh my word I just love it when the flowers are in bloom. Isn't God so wonderful to create such beauty for us to enjoy?

This mornings cuttings brought a bit of happiness inside. On the kitchen table:

And on the mantel:

What's your favorite flower?

Also, if anyone can identify the blooms in the next two photos, you will be my HERO. This came from a flowering tree, in bloom right now (in the Pacific Northwest, anyway), and this is what it looks like:

I must have this tree in my yard. Because it smells so good. I just need to figure out what it is, first. Please help.

Have a wonderful day!

Decluttering update

As promised: here's the decluttering update.
The following is a list of rooms/areas I finished:

-living room
-living room closet
-upstairs bathroom
-hallway closet
-kitchen (this took me two or three days)
-our bedroom (but i didn't do Mark's side of the bed or his closet/drawers)
-under our bed
-our bedroom closet
-laundry room
-kids' room (two days)
-kids' bathroom
-alcove downstairs
-sewing area of the playroom (which is the only area I happen to have a photo of, so that's right here):

The following is a list of the rooms/areas I did NOT finish: (and why)

-the playroom ~deep sigh~ If you were to stand at the ironing board (on the right, in the above picture) and look out onto our playroom, you would see it in all it's cluttery glory.

Our playroom is sort of our catch-all room. It contains the following, other than my sewing stuff: the foosball table, our TV area, an old desk and computer that we never use and need to get rid of, our printer, our filing cabinets, a drum set, some toys (train bin and miscellaneous toys), a bookshelf, and all of Mark's baseball cards. That he's been collecting since he was eight.years.old. (This is no small collection, people.) I actually spent a full day in the playroom and then one evening Mark and I tackled the sewing area of the room. The rest of it I have no motivation for. Yet.

-the storage room [Don't even get me started. Wanna see a picture?]

This right here is what you'd see if you opened the door:

So, yes. Um... lots of stuff.

If you were to turn to your immediate right, this is what you'd find:

Oh. Can't quite see further into the room because that bin of Christmas lights is two inches away from your face? Right. Here's another picture, then, beyond that little stack o' stuff, to give you the full affect:

And, um...yep. That's pretty much it in all it's finery!

Now I know you're all probably thinking that the reason I didn't tackle our storage room is because of the magnitude of the project.

Not so. I am not deterred by all of that stuff. No way, no how.

The one-and-only reason I did not touch the storage room is this:

There are spiders in there.

Big, black, hairy spiders.

Did I mention they're big? [~shudder~]

I assure you: if it weren't for my phobia of spiders and my absolute certainty that they live in there by the hoards, I would have that room looking so decluttered you would not even be able to recognize it. But I refuse to pull out one single box at the risk of seeing one of those things tear across the room at me. Or even running away from me. It matters not. I don't want to even see one of them unless Mark happens to be right beside me.

With a shoe.

So we'll be working on that room together at some point.

[And might I just add, here, that about a year ago I smartened up and began training my boys to get all the spiders in the house. It's daddy's job, but when daddy's gone, the men of the house have to do it, I tell them. And they revel in that sort of manly thing. And Isaac is especially good at getting spiders around here when I squeal for seeing one. He immediately comes to my rescue. Unless, of course, it happens to be one of the big, black hairy ones. That's when he freezes up and says, "I can't do it." ]

Which is why I need his daddy.

-the girls' room [Or what will be the girls' room when they move into it. Right now Ella is with the boys and Addie is in our room.] And the girls' room closet. I did spend a full day working on this room, but the problem is that we have about four huge boxes/bins of hand-me-downs (for Addie) that I just have no place for. Plus there's a bed that will be for Ella when she moves in here, plus there are more bins of clothes and the dollhouse and I have yet to figure out where it's all going to go.

-the back (indoor) porch. [Because, quite frankly, I'm really hoping Mark will just do that all by himself. Let's all vote. Who thinks my husband should do the back porch area? It does, after all, have his nails/tools/BBQ stuff, as well as the kids' shoes and our recycling stuff and... what else is even back there? I have NO idea. See? He should so do that. I think we're all agreed on that. That and the garage. Which is fully ten times worse than the storage room. Not to mention ten times bigger.]

That's all for today. But in another post I'll share a bit more about what I learned and what I've changed.

Oh, and by the way: Weather was not permitting, and the garden was NOT planted yesterday. Which is really too bad since the weather is permitting TODAY, but alas- it's not Mark's day off today. And planting the garden is always a family event, so we're not doing it without him. Another day...


-I think by now you're all aware of my affection for ice cream. Well. Here's some big news: my friend Talia has won me over to a new favorite ice cream. This right here: Haagen-Dazs Sorbet ice cream. Mango is especially good. Or Orchard Peach. (Talia, have I even told you this?--from that one time you and Jake brought it over here?) It's the only kind of ice cream I want to eat lately. And it's fat free. Soooo good.

-Mark has the day off this Wednesday and the plan- weather permitting- is that we will plant our garden! I am oh-so happy with the idea of beginning our garden again. Ella has told me several times that she wants her own little garden space, so we'll be factoring that in, too. [When I asked her what she wanted to plant in her garden, she said, "Those flowers daddy gave me for May Day and some fruit. But I haven't decided which fruit yet." This, from a girl who hates fruit.] And, we're going to have to come up with a plan to keep these girls out of their favorite-spot-to-take-a-dust-bath:

-In other news, we are four months behind on balancing our checkbook. Anyone want to guess what we're doing tonight? Ugh. I make it a habit to begin every single balancing-the-checkbook session with a prayer that God would help us balance to the penny. I usually begin, and go through everything once, only to find out that it's off, and then I hand it over to Mark, who goes over it all again, and who always finds all of my errors. ~smile~ Who does this delightful chore in your house?

-I'm in the market for a new sling. I love the Maya wrap of Amy's that I'm borrowing, but the problem is that in that sideways position, Addie always wants to eat. So my other option is our Baby Bjorn. Which I love- for it's support- but not for around the house. It's just not as cozy. I'd love something where she could be face up, against my chest, but more cozy than the Bjorn. Any suggestions?

-After I posted this post about doing embroidery with Ella, Randi from I Have To Say... asked me if I would write up something for her other cute blog, Me and My Girl (which is devoted to mother-daughter crafts). I said yes, and that post is up over there today. I regularly read both of Randi's blogs, so if you haven't discovered them yet, check 'em out!

-My dearest friend Amy (and family) were on vacation for all of last week. [Wonderful for them, lonely for me.] They're home again now, so all is right again with my world. Welcome back!

-Michelle tells me I should give everyone an update on the April decluttering and how that went. Oh, yeah. I'll do that. Soon.

-Mark and I are reading this book aloud to each other right now. We've tried this before, the reading-aloud thing. And it didn't work so well. [I prefer to see the words, not hear them, I can read a book so much faster when I'm reading it by myself, I'm impatient, etc] But we're giving it another go. We're taking turns, chapter by chapter. So far, so good.

-Time for me to go and make some dinner. Tonight we're having Chicken & Broccoli Calzones. Never heard of those before? ME NEITHER. I'm making it up as I go along. Wish me luck! :)

Mother's Day thoughts

As Mother's Day approaches all kinds of thoughts crowd in.

>I remember sitting in church on Mother's Day, year after year, longing and aching to be able to join the club. And I know some of you are there right now. Wanting so much to have the opportunity to just get to be a mother. Oh, dear God, please? Remember these. Fill these empty wombs. And flood these women with hope, strength, and perseverance in the meantime.

>I think of those of you, too, who have known loss that affects this day. A mother, now gone. A child, gone. I have never miscarried but I imagine you mark the days, months, seasons of that baby's life- had that life continued. Bring comfort, God.

>I think of how I have the best mother in the world. I am so grateful for my mom. Some of the things I am most thankful for? Her love for Jesus, her commitment to be at home, her enthusiasm for life's simple pleasures, her generosity, her heart of compassion, her laughter, her prayers, her gift of hospitality. To name just a few. God, thank you for mom. Pour Your favor upon her.

>I think of Mark's mother, my mother-in-law. I am thankful to her for her prayers, her instruction, her love for her little tow-headed boy who grew up to be my husband. What a fine son she raised! Bless her, dear God. Thank you for her commitment to her children. Thank you that she raised them to love You.

>I think of Isaias' mother in Guatemala. How often does she think of her little boy? What are the things she remembers about him? She carried him for nine months, her belly swelling, bearing his weight until delivery. Nine months later he was in our home. Bless her today, Father. Thank you that she chose life for our Isaias. Provide for her. May she know Your love.

>I think of Addie's mother. It was only a little over two months ago that she gave birth to the little beauty I now hold. Two months. What is she thinking today? Oh, God, rescue this one. May she know the redeeming love of Jesus Christ.

>I think of Baby's young mother. Will she get her four girls this Mother's Day? Does the state make special arrangements so that she'll get them for the day, or part of the day? How is she doing? Maybe Baby is even back with her already. Lord, help this young mother. Give her the support, the resources, the strength to mother her children well. May she come to know You and love You, dear God; that You might guide her and strengthen her.

>I think of those of you who are foster mothers, who take in children and love them and raise them for a season, only to have to say goodbye . Bless you. God, grant these mothers strength to carry out the task you have called them to.

>I think of so many of you who are mothers-- doing this difficult, yet *so* rewarding job, day in and day out. Happy Mother's Day to you! God, bless these mothers. Give them wisdom, discernment, energy, creativity, and joy.

>Finally, I am filled with joy and gratitude that I get to be a mother to Ella, Isaac, Isaias and Adelia. Thank you, Father. My heart is so full. What a tremendous gift and responsibility. May I honor You as I mother these children You've entrusted to me.

From grumpy to grateful

I woke up this morning and I was a grump. I'm tired, for one thing, and every other possible reason for my grumpiness I'll just chalk up to a bad attitude on my part.

I wasn't especially thrilled to begin the day that stretched out before me. As I got out of bed, do you know what song came to mind? This one. I thought it was a little humorous, actually. That song, on a day when I felt so grumpy. I shrugged it off and went on my merry grumpy way.

My plan was to read a bit in the Bible and then pour all of my grumpiness into a journal entry. I turned to the Psalms to pick up where I'd left off.

Psalm 138.

It begins: "I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart."

Now. I know Psalm 138 says much more than that but I wouldn't know what, exactly, because I didn't make it any further than those first ten words. And really, just those first four words were exactly what God wanted to speak to my heart this morning.

I will praise you.

I wanted to come to Him and pour out all my stuff, and He gently reminded me to praise Him.

I didn't particularly feel so praise-filled at that moment. But then, it doesn't say, "I feel like praising you." It says, "I will praise you." Well, then. Okay. I accepted His call to praise, if a bit reluctantly.

The twenty minutes I took to write down a list of praises completely changed the course of my day. It changed my grumpy spirit to a grateful one.

It's such a simple thing, really. Praise. Thankfulness. Gratitude. [Which begs the question, "Why, then, am I so quick to forget it?" I'm quite sure if you dug through the archives here on this blog you could find any number of posts that are nearly exactly like this one.]

I am counting my many blessings today, and I am praying that God will shape me to be a woman who has a heart of praise.

Oh. And before you click away?

Here's just one of my many blessings:


High Desert Home A series of posts on An Inspiring Home for Learning. It begins here. [Thank you, Tonia for the link!]

Joyful Noise I love what Tami says about Stuff in this post.

The Flourishing Mother Andrea shares some of her thoughts on the subject of Kindergarten curriculum.

Good Things Catered This recipe for Corn and Black Bean Salad with Lime Cilantro Vinaigrette was delicious! [I'm also going to try her Sweet Lemon Cupcake recipe this week.]

Moon with a View I've made Cutzi's refried beans several times since she posted this recipe. We love them. I knew we would. The past few times I've done a mixture of pinto beans and black beans. Delish!

Craftster I already have a shirt picked out for this project.

jcaroline creative If you ever want to order fabric online, this is where you should order it. Excellent selection and service. Ask me how I know.