Further Evidence that Mark is the Fun Parent

Last week we went to the ocean for vacation.  Following are some pictures, which will just prove once and for all that Mark is the Fun Parent.  (For you long-time readers, let's just remember together his animal pancakes* for breakfast, sometimes with food coloring.  And the cool things he's created with cardboard around our kids' beds.  Like the Castle and the Viking Ship.)  And just other things like the fact that he'll sit on the floor and play LEGOs with the boys.  (For more than, say, the three minutes I might give it.)  Or the times he sits and plays dollhouse with the girls.
*sorry there are no photos on the pancake post. 

Anyway.  We went on vacation.  Here are the pictures:

So anything you see here that has anything to do with digging in the sand is all Mark.

There are a lot of things I do like to do at the ocean, but digging in the sand with my bare hands is just not one of them.

In this next photo I seriously think Mark and Isaac are dancing a happy jig over their sand castle progress.  This may have been the moment I thought I was with the wrong family.

Mark's plans are always quite elaborate.

I don't even know what they've got going on, here.  Some different, um- outlying castles to the main castle?

And some other photos that aren't necessarily digging-or-sand-castle related:
I love this picture of Adelia in her little pink rain jacket, bending to get a bucket-full of sand. 

Mark and Audra, running from away from the waves.  (See?  More fun with daddy.)
My beautiful girl
All five.  Plus daddy.  (It's my goal, always, to get all of them in the same frame.)
Ella with her bag of sea shells

Oh, and on the way home we stopped at a lighthouse.  The tallest one in Washington State.  This was also Mark's idea.

He's truly the greatest. 

I'm reading in the book of Judges right now- and was struck so much by this passage that I wanted to share it here quickly.  I've probably shared it here before, actually-- because each time I read this passage I am so encouraged:

After Joshua had dismissed the Israelites, they went to take possession of the land, each to his own inheritance.  The people served the LORD throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had seen all the great things the LORD had done for Israel. (2:6-7)
Then we learn that Joshua dies, and the text goes on:

After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the LORD nor what he had done for Israel.  Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD and served the Baals.  They forsook the LORD, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of Egypt. (2:10-12)

That generation failed to teach the next generation to love and follow God.

Oh, dear mothers: may that not be our story.  May we be faithful and intentional and determined to teach our children to love and obey God!  Deuteronomy 6 says we are to impress God's commandments on our children, to talk about them when we sit and walk and lie down and get upDo not for a second believe that this isn't your most important task as a mother.   That is our calling.  Teach your children about God- fill them with His Word so that they can then teach THEIR children.  This is God's plan.

Okay- I'm heading back to my Bible now-- but I just wanted to share that in case anyone else needed to hear that today.  


I only have a few pages left in my current journal, so I went out to buy a new one yesterday.  I have a little tradition when it's time for a new journal:  I go to the bookstore-- Barnes & Noble, usually-- since they sell the spiral-bound blank books I like (in the art section)- and purchase a journal and a fun magazine.  This is the only time I ever buy magazines- and I buy it only to go home and cut it up, which seems rather silly, I realize.  But it's a treat for me because I fill those blank journal pages with pictures I've clipped and then I get to enjoy them for the next several months.  

some blank journal pages
I spend time every single day- with few exceptions- writing in my journal, so I like it to look pretty.  This is my best effort.  My very own "Pinterest" board, if you will. 

some other pages from fall, before I'd written in them

Then I just journal around the pictures.  Everything goes into my journal: verses, prayers, to-do lists, all sorts of other lists, gardening plans, quotes I like, notes to myself, menu plans, cute things the kids say, homeschooling ideas, recipes, ideas, goals, books I'm reading, schedules, knitting patterns, sketches, cards from Mark, drawings from the kids, doodling, plans for rearranging furniture and sermon notes.  It's all there.  I've tried before to keep separate journals- for instance, a separate prayer journal-- but I've decided that it's easier for me to have it all in one place.   So I've been doing it this way for years and I love it. 

And some really old pages- I took these last three photos several years ago

Good links

This photo has nothing to do with this post but I'm posting it anyway.  Mark took it on Mother's Day.  I'm so grateful to get to be a mama to these five.

Good morning, all.   It's just after 8 and Ella is sitting next to me reading Return to Gone-Away by Elizabeth Enright. My Bible, journal and reading materials are all in my room (where Audra is still sleeping after crawling into bed with us early this morning), so I'm composing a post instead.  Adelia and the boys are playing in the boys' room.

Some links for you:
  • I really liked this post on friendship.  Katy Rose writes of authenticity, spurring one another on and this:  "Relationships thrive when thoughts of care turn in to acts of care."  I want to be this kind of friend.
  • I liked this post on homeschooling over at The Busy Mom blog, which reminds me of another post I read recently by this same author called Raising our Sons to Seek After God.
  • This is my new favorite salad dressing.  NOTE: the original recipe listed makes something like a gallon of dressing, which is clearly more than you'll want to make.  Here is the scaled-down recipe:
Greek salad dressing
3/4 cup olive oil
1 cup red wine vinegar
1-2 cloves of garlic*
2 tsp oregano
2 tsp basil
1.5 tsp pepper
1.5 tsp salt
1.5 tsp onion powder
1.5 tsp Dijon mustard
(optional: add feta cheese to the dressing)

*the original recipe calls for garlic powder but I just ignored that and put the real stuff in.
I've been chopping up romaine, cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions, peppers and feta and adding some of that scrumptious dressing and eating it regularly for lunch.  YUM.

Blessings to you for a wonderful day!


True Story

I am 45 lessons behind in correcting Ella's math.

No, that is not a typo.  45.
As in: forty-five.

So, basically: I don't correct.  [Or rather I do, just only a few times per year, apparently.] 

Well.  Now you can all feel a whole lot better about your own correcting skills.

Carry on! 

Garden planting

Just over a week ago....  our garden space: 

then, freshly rototilled:

{ our chickens were happy! }


What Audra did while we planted:

This day she was collecting worm families, but she also collects caterpillars, roly-poly bugs and snails.  She names them, too.

See what I mean about my basil?  I always kill it! 
I began with six starts, and all but two have died.
So then I purchased the Trader Joe's variety- full, happy, healthy plants.
And now they're dying.

 I'm determined to get an herb garden started, though.  That's basil on the left.

I've been thinking lately about how I'm an unlikely gardener.  We never had a vegetable garden growing up.  My grandparents did, but my family never did.  And I hated to weed- sometimes mom had me weed her flower beds and I always dreaded that chore.  There were times we went out to weed my grandparents' garden and I just remember I would SO rather be playing with my cousins.

Then I married Mark.  As soon as we bought our house, he was so excited about planting a garden-- which was sort of odd to me.  Gardens meant work and not the kind of work I like.  It's taken me several years to get to the place where I truly do enjoy it.  I don't even mind the weeding anymore.  Some days I even like it.

{ cutting lilacs to bring into the house }

I'm thankful that even though most of the time I don't really know what I'm doing, gardening is a very forgiving hobby.  We rarely prune our lilac trees but we get lilacs every single year.  We forget to replant our tulip bulbs but they keep cheerily coming up each spring.  We forget to weed our raspberries but we'll get some anyway.  We plant seeds and vegetables grow- maybe not as many as we'd like- and our garden may not get the weeding it deserves, but we'll get vegetables. 

We've learned so much and we continue to learn, a little here, a little there.  I'm trying to remember to look things up: Why is my basil plant turning yellow and looking sad?  Why are the leaves on one of our blueberry bushes turning yellow?  How do I tie back our tall raspberry bushes?  When should we prune?  We forget things, every season, and still we get fruit and flowers.  I am thankful. 

On discipleship

Regarding the Great Commission, and how we are to disciple nations.  From Michael Farris:

God gave us an example in Scripture.  Abraham was expected to disciple Isaac.  Isaac was supposed to disciple Jacob.  Jacob, head of a large homeschooling family of 12 sons plus a number of daughters, was expected to disciple his children.  The 12 sons were to disciple their families and the discipled families were to be faithful tribes, and ultimately produce a discipled nation.
The family is God's intended principal method for discipleship.

The importance of all this becomes apparent when we consider the passage that contains the command that Jesus told us was the most important of all.

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.  Impress them on your children.  Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  (Deuteronomy 6:4-8)

We are to love God.  We are to teach our children to love God.  And we are to do this teaching as we go through the course of everyday life.