Wednesday, January 30, 2008


The boys love to have smoothies for breakfast....yes, even when it's 20' outside and snowy. Our favorites are a random combination of berries, bananas milk and yogurt. I haven't experimented with planting veggies in there.
Eli's smoothie lip looks like North America, Joe says.

And on another note, birdies were not successful in keeping any chicks this time. The last of the eggs hatched a week ago. Imagine my surprise when I peeked in the nest and saw FIVE more eggs this morning! One egg a day....that means they didn't waste ANY time laying new eggs. Maybe this time will be more successful. I'll keep you updated!

Taking orders for baby finches (one day).
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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Little love for East Coast Daddy

Here's a clip of the boys sledding yesterday. We had a great time, missed you much! We'll do our best to save some snow for you! Catch the p0st-ride use of the word "right."

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Chicken Middle says...

This morning middle and I were snuggling up in my bed.

Mom: Did you grow when you were sleeping? I think you're bigger.
Nate: Mmhmmm.
Mom:Did you get stronger too?
Nate: Yep!
Mom: How about smarter, you look smarter this morning.
Nate: And cuter too!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Chicken Middle's art explosion

I really needed to share this new piece of art from middle, it's fabulous! The story behind it....all these people are at the zoo waiting to pet the giraffe.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Notes to Myself

Sleep overs for the kiddos~ Always plan a yummy breakfast, sit and eat with the kids. This is a great chance to get to know the kids better & make your home welcoming.

It's Thanksgiving~ The food is coming out! But that doesn't mean your cupboards have to be full of goodies and cookies. Keep your cupboards healthy, save all that baking for the week before Christmas!

Friday, January 18, 2008

For my fellow Runners

Found a fun way to share and track your running. It's called Map My Run. I just think it's fun to keep a mileage journal and to know exactly how far I'm running. You can even see a satellite image of the area you run (very fun for me, I'm off the road/paved trail.) Very fun! Let me know if you give it a try!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

You Win Some....

Our middle-est chicken in the resident snuggler around here. Don't get me wrong, our other boys love a good snuggle sometimes, but for #2 it's a requirement before and after each sleeping period. This afternoon, Hubby offered to snuggle #2 before his nap (and get a little rest in too.) I quickly took him up on it, but as usual, after a minute or two, Hubby came out in defeat. "He wants you." I snuck into my room and climbed up to my bed next to Nate. He says "You're so much better than my daddy." Fully understanding that I'm a better snuggler than daddy, I asked him "Why?" #2 couldn't come up with an answer. But I knew. It's cause I'm the mommy and mommies are softer, in many ways.

I just might need this win right now, 'cause when we're walking through the parking lot, Hubby 10 paces ahead of me, the boys flock to be by his side. Many times this brings a sigh of relief, but sometimes I just get sad and feel all sorry for myself. And things aren't changing, except for in a growing up way. In the last 6 months I weaned Chicken Little, he potty trained himself, Big Chicken turned 6 and started Kindergarten, Middle is 4....and as of this week we are officially not having any more babies. A BIG 6 months, and I know, I know, my OLDEST child is still young and I have so many beautiful years to come. However, I found my identity all wrapped up in being a mother of young children, growing chicks or feeding them for 6 years solid. So I think it should be understandable that I'm now having to redefine who I am.

And what a beautiful time to find myself in Christ. My identity should be all wrapped up in him, everything else is always changing and nothing else is sure.

As my favorite song says;

My hope is built on nothing less
than Jesus' blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
but wholly lean on Jesus name.
On Christ the solid rock I stand,
all other ground is sinking sand,
all other ground is sinking sand.

When all around my soul gives way
He then is all my hope and stay.
In every high and stormy gale,
my anchor holds within the veil.
On Christ the solid rock I stand,
all other ground is sinking sand,
all other ground is sinking sand.

So I'll find myself in The Rock, the one sure thing in this world, & I'll continue to beat their dad hands down to being the softest mommy these little boys will ever need. Soft ain't so bad.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

An Old Favorite

I'd like to share with you....and many other people would too. If you haven't already heard, there is a fantastic yahoo groups out there called Freecycle. This organization is proving itself in the most lovely way for me.

Let me tell you a little about it;

1. You go to the website, and find your local group
2. You sign up to receive all the local posts, or if you live in a HUGE area you may just want to surf the adds. I get all the posts in my inbox.
3. You find something around your house that you don't love or need anymore, but that someone else might just need. It could be a bag of too small diapers, a set of silverware, an odd chair that fits nowhere, or even a half full bottle of shampoo.
4. You post an "Offer" to your community.
5. Someone wants your 1/2 full bottle of shampoo. You make arrangements with them to pick it up. ( I always just leave the item on my front porch for them to pick up)
6. Your shampoo trash is someone's treasure!
7. Now you realize that you need....say a vcr, a pincushion, a stack of Reader's Digest Magazines. 8. You put out a "Wanted" email. In just hours you have three replies, and arrange to go pick up what you need. Their trash, your treasure.
9. Someone else posts an "offer" for 28 cd's from the 90's, three unopened cans of peaches, or a doggy crate, and you're all over that one. Hurry, respond and say you'll pick them up tomorrow! You might just get that treasure!

I highly recommend Freecycle. This week I treasured a bird cage and a toddler bed (yes, we put the crib away...another blog). Fabulous! Even better, I freecycled 4 bathrobes, a pair of shoes, a barely working electric blanket and a jacket. So fun to share! Try it!

Saturday, January 12, 2008


And Middle bowling too! The motion really messed with the photo, so I thought I'd have some fun and brighten it up a little. What we lack for in clarity, we make up for in brilliance!
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Bowling into 2008

Turning four middle, really wanted to bowl again for his birthday party this year. We went last year as a family. This year we went with his's friend, who also turned 4 this month, and his family of 6. We had a great time.

Little got to bowl and crawl around and enjoy two year old scenery.

And of course a photo of Little, Middle and I. Cheese!
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Friday, January 11, 2008

Perfectionism or Nothing....

I get nothing!
For those of you that know me, really well, would most likey never peg me as a perfectionist. My life, my hair, my house, my kids, my....everything is far from perfect (or even appearing so). I never, ever thought of myself as a perfectionist. When I read, from my sweet life organization mentor, FlyLady that I was indeed a perfectionist I was shocked. Some examples of true perfection;

You might be a perfectionist if........ you remake your childs bed after he or she just made it to make it look better reach into the cabinet to get that bottle of the latest, greatest cleaner and end up on the floor cleaning the cleaning supplies.
.... if your closets, cupboards, and drawers are tidy but the house is a mess because you don't have time to put everything away perfectly!
....You make the same list everyday over and over again because you did the list out of order, so you have to make a new one.

These aren't my examples. I get so overwhelmed because I can't get the house cleaned perfectly that I can't clean at all. When I first got married, I didn't think I could vacuum without moving the furniture each time to vacuum invisible dirt away. Can you believe I'm still alive? My push for a clean house, an organized house are simply thoughts of discontent.

I've come some way in realizing that life looks like movement, not a magazine. My hair will look just like this until I walk away from the mirror. My car is clean until we get into it again, muddy shoes and gum wrappers and all. My house, well, my house is in movement. Being cleaned slowly, and there are volcanoes in most of the other rooms. But this is life. This is how we live, with things all over, and the fingerprints on my wall are just evidence of the little boys you see in the photos on my wall.

I'm still learning to let go. This struggle will hopefully end one day, but for now it is my lot in life. My sweet neighbor reminded me how quickly my kids will grow up and go off, one day I'll have so much time on my hands to clean that things won't need cleaning. How depressing.

I think I'll take the crazy house. Of course, I'm still cleaning...

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Grrrr...(Perspective Please!)

Disclaimer; Not hormone related.

I'll give you the short story.

Mom comes down to messy kitchen, to work on dishes & make birthday cupcakes after an extended (45 min) bedtime routine. Extra snuggle time w/ 4 year old munchkin necessary, and security conversation after he asks: "What happens if you forget me at the grocery store?" Mom says: "Chicken, Pirates have gold and diamonds for their treasure, right? Well, Mommy has four treasures. Daddy, Joey, Nate and Eli. You are my treasure. I will never forget you. If ever you can't see mommy in the store, you sit down and wait and I will find you." Nate adds: "Anyway, I'll never be alone because God is with me." Excellent!
Back to the kitchen...2 year old requests before bed milk. Mom reaches for milk and tips over salad dressing, catches it, only to realize it's caught (by her forearm) upside down- lid off- spilling into yes, the open produce drawer, all over everything in it's path, and of course, all over the floor. We're talking the oil and vinegar type.
Two year old says "Mess!" Such joy, for a two year old.
Mom asks two year old to stay out of the mess, as he gravitates toward it, of course.
Mom hollers to the rest of the waking world that she's made a gigantic mess. Subliminal message: COME help me clean up!
No one comes. Mom sighs as she fills the sink with soapy water, soap enough to attack the olive oil on the floor. The scent of balsamic vingerette with spices is wafting up to greet me. Water has it's usual effect so I head to the restroom. Come back to see 2 year old sliding across kitchen floor...."Wheee." *%(#*% Not funny.
Back to the bathroom with two year old in hand, washing off little feet, trying to be kind with my tongue, explaining just why I don't want two year olds sliding across floor.
Mom takes 2 year old and drops him in daddy's arms. "Can you watch him while I deal with this mess?"
I head back to the kitchen to the sounds of an obligatory offer for help. I refuse, angry that it's an obligatory offer, and no one jumped up to help.
Scrub, scrub, empty veg drawer, scrub, scrub.

Then it's time for my sweet 2 year old to go to bed, I get him all ready, having sweet conversation with him. Prep his music, snuggle him in and give him a million kisses. I kiss the other sleeping boys, taking 6 year-old's glasses off of his sleeping face. Hubby comes up, weary from a long day & night prior, more sweet conversation as he climbs in bed...and I realized that I'm the luckiest woman in the world, and I have four dear treasures.

Ahh, I'm in love with my life. Vinegar and all.

Now, back to those cupcakes....

Rolling through Hormone-Land

You know, we ladies do NOT get it easy. Starting at about 12 years old we hit with hormones and all their friends, and they never depart, just change.

After 5 pregnancies, 3 deliveries and 6 years of nursing, I was really looking forward to a break in the ups and downs that hormones bring. I weaned Eli in August, and thought that the following months would bring a new peace. I was wrong. I got hit hard w/ hot flashes, night sweats, monster PMS (my poor family) and other things that just no one should have to deal with(my poor family). Last month though I visited with my dear cousin who recommended a vitamin, Women's Wellness....and yes, I'm promoting it. I'm amazed how quickly it calms my irritability and has leveled out how I feel in every way. (My happy family)

I'm so grateful, at times like these, to live in this era. I can only imagine riding across the country miserably on wagon train with strangers and a new husband, 7 months pregnant, only to land somewhere in the middle of nowhere, not a neighbor in sight. Then to deliver this child myself in a log cabin heated by a stove I have to keep hot. On to live through the next years raising my children, baking our bread, hand washing our clothes, bathing in the stream all while dealing with HORMONES! No internet research, no quick phone to the dr. or midwife. Maybe not even a husband that wants to hear about it. It's a wonder we made it this far....and now a mere 100 years later we have it so easy, AND wonderful doctors, scientists and others who've worked hard to make hormones easier or even obsolete.

I am a happy woman today, go ahead...stop by. My house is messy but it's warmed by the fires of our hearts, a level mommy and her happy family. Thank you, Andrew Lessman.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Happy Birthday Nathan Dean

Because I'm only allowed four photos per upload, this Birthday wish comes to you in several blogs. Nonetheless, today is Nate's birthday, and I wanted to share with you in a photo journal of his days. Not all his days, but many. I just love pictures! These four photos will reveal a little of the charachter of Nathan to you.

Varmint hunting. Yes, it's a toy gun.

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First Birthday Bash at a Children's museum in Pennsylvania. I painted his nose blue to match the cookie monster sweatshirt.

Nate all the way, serious as can be. Here he's on our back steps in Leesburg, VA

True to Nate, the kid loves sports. He's sleeping with a basketball this very night.

Having the time of his life on my Aunt & Uncle's property in OR.
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Baby Nate

Nate was a chunker. I love how squishy and yummy he was then.

Big bath grin
This is one of my favorite photos, his first camping trip, chillin' with mom under a tree.

And this is a baby camping bath. Umm! Delicious little boy!
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Nate in Black and White

These photos were taken in Nate's first months. This is a hospital photo. A sweet, beautiful boy from the start. I just couldn't believe how he was so different from Joey from the start.

This, of course, is a favorite photo of mine. Nate was just a couple of weeks old. Joey was two.

Nathan looks like my dad in this photo. I think he still favors dad. Ironically, his namesake

What a peach!
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Nathan's Birth Story (mom's just love sharing these, don't we?)

This is supposed to be about my first child, but I think it's fitting that I'll do my second, being that his birthday is tomorrow.

Here you go mommies - a different kind of survey for a change - it's all about your first born!

1. Were you married at the time?

2. What was your reaction?
I was very, very happy, and apprehensive after 2 miscarriages. We prayed a lot.

3. How old were you?

4. How did you find out you were pregnant?
I took a test, but I knew when I started getting out of breath- a first sign of pregnancy for me.

5. Who did you tell first?
Ralph, then family

6. Did you want to find out the sex?

7. Due date?
1/12/07 I think

8.Did you deliver early or late?
one week early

9. Did you have morning sickness?

10. What did you crave?
food;) I'm so hungry when pregant

11. Who irritated you the most?
myself, hormones are SO fun

12. What was your child's gender?

13. How many pounds did you gain throughout the pregnancy?

14. Did you have any complications during your pregnancy?
Well, we moved across the country. That was complicated. :) Other than that, no.

16. How many hours were you in labor?

17.Who drove you to the hospital?

18. Who watched?
I had an awesome dr, a million nurses, and Ralph

19.Was it natural or c-section?

10.Did you take medicine to ease the pain?
Epi all the way. I learned the hard way first time around

21.How much did your child weigh?
8 pounds, 10 ounces

22.Did your child have any complications?
No, he was just beautiful

23.What did you name him/her?
Nathan Dean (Dean after my dad and grandpa)

24. How old is your first born today?
4 tomorrow!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Critter says....

Mom (maybe the 13th time): Get in to bed Critter, it's time to go to sleep.

LC (who will be 4 Monday) : But I have to practice sleeping. If I don't practice sleeping then I can't sleep. If I don't got to sleep, then I can't dream. If I don't dream...then my dreams won't come true.

Can you tell we've been to the library a lot lately? What an imagination this boy has!

Pants dance

Yes, that's me in the background...snorting. Sorry.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Too great a read not to share

Ever get one of those books you read, then re-read, just to dissect? I have one for you. Without going on and on and on, The Shack, by William P. Young is worth the read.

The fictious story goes....Mac, a family man runs into a terrible tragedy in his life. He is haunted by this painful experience. Mac has an opportunity to spend a weekend in conversation with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

To me, the most profound thing from this book is the reminder of how very much God loves me. There are many hard questions addressed in this book as well. This book might just rock your world.

Need I say more...want to borrow my copy? Ummm, I guess Ralph is reading it again....take a chance, get your own copy. Check it out at The Shack website. Good reading!


Today...five eggs. She's incubating, so far so good!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

The gift that's giving again

For Christmas, I got two little teeny finches. I've been contemplating getting finches for years, this year Ralph did it for me. I got a sweet little pair named Clementine and Pete. We've enjoyed their song, and sweet birdy company.

Knowing that finches do lay eggs, I did some reading and bought a nest for them, along with some nesting materials for them to make the nest comfy. I've enjoyed their care. They get fruit and hard boiled eggs (I know, I know....cannibalism) every day. Ralph says if he were a finch he'd want me to be his owner.

This morning I got the cage down to feed them, and lo and behold...TWO EGGS in the nest! I could hardly believe that in just over a week these two are already on the ball and making good use of the nest. My reading tells me that though finches lay between 2 & 10 eggs (one a day) oftentimes, the first few clutches will not hatch or survive b/c the parents are new at this game and have to learn just how to care for them. After Clementine finishes laying her clutch, she'll begin incubating and in a couple of weeks I should have another birds or none.

10 new finches? Anyone want some sweet birdies?