Saturday, January 30, 2010

5 Question Friday on Saturday

1. Would you ever vacation alone?
I daydream on a regular basis about having a weekend almost anywhere quiet just by myself. Yes. I would love to go alone. I would read, pray, walk and run, eat, rest, pray. I can dream about it. Maybe one day.

2. Do you go the speed limit?

No. But I am mindful of my environment and occupants.

3. Why did you start blogging/following blogs?
I really wanted to have a record of our lives. I thought it would be so fun to have a living journal to look back on. Now I blog because I have more words than I get to speak in a day. I live with four boys and love the female friendships. ;) I love to read other blogs, it's very inspiring and encouraging.

4. Where do you shop for yourself?

Where ever I am. Costco, Fred Meyer, Macy's...but often times I shop online with Land's End too.

5. What was the song you danced your first dance at your wedding?
Would you believe I don't remember? I do remember the song we chose for communion, it's a very special song to us.... This Road by Jars of Clay. Sweet Memories...

This Road

All heavy laden acquainted with sorrow
May Christ in our marrow, carry us home
From alabaster come blessings of laughter
A fragrance of passion and joy from the truth

Grant the unbroken tears ever flowing
From hearts of contrition only for You
May sin never hold true that love never broke through
For God's mercy holds us and we are His own

This road that we travel, may it be the straight and narrow
God give us peace and grace from You, all the day
Shelter with fire, our voices we raise still higher
God give us peace and grace from You, all the day through

Friday, January 29, 2010

Baskeball Boys

Joe takes a shot (& Nate's #1)
Eli lines up for drills...backward, of course. I love this photo...don't the kids all seem so happy just to be kids?
Nate races down the court with his teamate.
...and my husband is the best coach ever.
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Working Myself Out of a Job (Why My Boys are Scrambling to do My Work)

Homeschooling provides many unique opportunites for mamas & their munchkins. One of those that I'm tapping into is working myself out of a job.

When I was considering schooling my kids at home, I went to a presentation led by a mom who'd been schooling her kids at home for years. One of the things she spoke of was teaching your kids how to help out around the house. "Why should you pull laundry out of the dryer when your three-year-old is already down there?" she asked.

So I thought I'd get a head start on making friends with my daughters-in-law-to-be and teach my boys a thing or two about keeping a house clean. This is helping me too, I'm starting to enjoy the fruits of their labor.

Okay, so I can tell you all about how my boys are doing laundry, vacuuming, polishing my kitchen cupboards, dusting and taking out the trash...but what I want to share is the HOW.

The boys have a list of chores that I printed out (pictorial reminders for my non-readers), laminated and hung up for them to check off. The boys can read or check on what they need to do, then they cross them off with a wipe off marker. This keeps me free of reminding them....I just direct them to check their charts to see if their work is done.

The reason that the boys work so quickly to get their chores done (and after school proper) is that they know that after their chores, they get to play the Wii. Each day the boys get 15 minutes to play Wii. (They get 30 minutes for two boys or 45 minutes if they play all together, but they usually choose to play separately and then watch each other play. ) Keeping this as an earned treat keeps them working quickly to get their Wii time.

I understand this may not work for every family, but I love it that my kids whistle while they work so that they can get their fun time. There are good lessons for life here too. If you get your work done quickly, you can have fun quickly. Also, it's great that they're understanding what it means when they leave a blob of toothpaste on the counter for someone else to clean up. Maybe, just maybe, I won't have to pick up so much around the house anymore....even if it's just because they'll be doing it themselves.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

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Until otherwise notified....

Dear Santa,

I know it's January, but I feel the need to give you plenty of notice for Christmas 2010.
I don't mean to sound ungrateful, but I have to tell you our family story. Or my story.

In November, I spent a good week or two going through all the toys in our toy closet that my boys just aren't using anymore. I cleaned them out and I have yet to give them away because that requires some time to organize them so I can properly give them away. At any rate, now three weeks into January I'm feeling like you simply replaced the toys that I just cleaned out. There are so many toys that we now have that no one is playing with.

So I have a request. Could you please stick to the craft department, sporting goods store, books and games store? These are the things that get used at my house. The shiny plastic-y, noisy-flashy (many batteries required) toys are interesting for a whole 10 minutes.

If you come to my house, you'll find my boys....playing games, cutting up cardboard, running around in costume, building things, working puzzles, creating something with stickers, glue, crayons and paint....reading books or painting rocks in the backyard.

So I think you'll understand why I'm requesting you put your little elves to a different line of work.

Ever so Sincerely,

Nate's Birthday gifts..finally! More girls in the house!

Guess who?
Who could it be?
Welcome home Clementine& Savanah!
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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

1000 Words

We had my sweet nephew for a weekend awhile back. It was a good time. This is him and my sister, cuties both.

When Zander was here Eli and Z were out playing in the ice, they took huge chunks off the sides of the trampoline. They're cute cousins, eh?
Saturday afternoon, after three basketball games...."I'm NOT tired, mom." He fell asleep eating a cracker...his hand dropped after he finished feeding his falling-asleep-face.
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Quiet Season Update

I'm reading... picked up Bringing Up Geeks and Parenting with Love and Logic today at the library. Looking forward to a little reading. Oh, and Mrs. PiggleWiggle book 2.

Projects....Teaching my kiddos and stepping it up in Geography a bit. I have a teensy bit of painting that needs to be finished too.

In school...I'm really going for the peaceful school house, still schooling one-on-one. Seems to be going well for a season. We're up to George Washington in our timeline and I've been working on displaying that on the walls so the kids can look at it when they like. Did you know it takes up a lot of space?

Recent dates...We've been so, so last weekend when my dad offered to take the boys for a few hours we jumped on it. Ralph took me out to dinner and we had a great time just chatting. We so many more dates than we used to, now that the kids are older. I love it. Oh! And my sister and I went to dinner, candy shoppe then coffee last week. Good talks and a good, good friend.

I'm thinking...that God is stretching me into new things. Hard things are good to do. I also keep thinking about camping. We've decided to tent camp this year, but I'm itching to go. I don't think we'll be doing that soon--I'm NOT all about snow camping *yet.*

The boys....are needing action. This weather makes for bouncy boys....and they just can't jump outside enough with the wet-ish un-Central Oregon weather. Yesterday I took them on a long bike ride and they have a playdate lined up for tomorrow. They're also taking on an enormous new amount of chores. I'll have to tell you about why they're scrambling to get them done. But I truly am feeling the effects of all they're doing around's great. slow in coming but I'm going here and there again. Feels good in my bones. The cold doesn't bother me, ice does (don't have chains) but not the cold.

God is...doing new stuff. Ralph and I have been asked to head up a 20's something group at our church (we love, love our church) and that's growing us in new directions. We're really enjoying our new friendships and the group all together.

Changes... I lopped my hair off. I think I like it....I just did it yesterday so I'll let you know. I'm wanting to get a photo for you soon.

Looking forward, sleep, and a new day tomorrow. And a February baby shower that I'm planning.

Favorite moments....pondering over my boys..trying to "figure them out", chatting with my husband throughout the day, chatting here and there with my sister and a wonderful long-distance phone call I got today, even if it was just a few minutes. Thanks, Kindred! eat healthier, drink more water, and soon organize some closets that need it really, really badly.

Missing my regular postings, but there's nothing wrong with some quiet, eh?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Monday Winter Morning Words

I know most people aren't crazy about Mondays, but to me there is something so regular and normal about them. Not that our weekdays are routine and scheduled.

This morning Joey was off working on a lego city he's been building, perfecting the details.

Eli's been lying on his belly in his room pushing trains around the track.

Nate could be found following Ralph or I around, chattering about the new week or playing with sculpley clay, wondering at what point he should stop so he can bake it forever to stay.

School will come, but for now I welcome the peaceful winter morning. I needed that extra time to sweep my dog-furry wood floors and maybe even sit down and say hi to the world to you all this morning.

Over the last few weeks it seems my boys are enjoying space more than their brother. Last week I started schooling them one at a time. They absolutely love it. It doesn't take me much longer than usual. I sit with each child one at a time, do all their work and then we still do our memory work collectively. It's quiet at the school table and I rarely feel rushed to finish anything at all. It's peaceful.

Our memory verse this week:

Psalm 62:1&2

For I am convinced that neither death nor life,
neither angels nor demons,
neither the present nor the future,
nor any powers,
neither height nor depth,
nor anything else in all creation,
will separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus.

I lay in my bed last night wondering about just what the future holds for our little family, my mind wandering this way and that. Then I came to a wonderful realization. I don't care what is in my future so long as God is orchestrating it. I find perfect peace in wanting what He wants beyond what I want.

I hope that you, too, will find perfect peace in remembering this morning how much our Jesus loves you, that you are the apple of His eye. And that there isn't anything that can separate you from Him when you give Him your whole heart. Not the future, not any powers. Not death, not grief, not loss, not loneliness. He is always with you, always seeking after a friendship with you.

Last night at dinner Nate prayed for all the Haitian children that have no family, that they would each be adopted. I asked him about this....knowing he probably had come to the realization that so many moms and dads and children have perished in the last week in Haiti. He said he was not sad for those who died, they were with Jesus. He was sad for those who were alone. What a treasure heart this boy has.

Good Monday, friends.

Friday, January 15, 2010


Please enjoy throughout this post the sweet photos of my now 6 year old photo acting for you all. They are unrelated to the blog.

I've been spending a fraction of my normal time online lately, tonight is a night I'm going to read up a little, and share a little too.

After reading Jen's blog entry on The Holocaust of Time, I lay in bed wondering where my time was being spent frivolously. I made some quiet contracts with myself about television and internet time in order to change the highway robbery I was permitting.

I know myself well, and I know this won't be the last day I visit this issue- paring back, but I'm really grateful for the wake-up call this week and am enjoying more of my time back to myself.
I've all but discarded my facebook account. I'll keep it around because I really enjoy the old relationships I've discovered. But I'm going to let all the chit chat go for now.

Now you might think I was all caught up on my household chores but really I've just enjoyed more board games with the boys and fun like that. Lots of good conversation with my working at home hubby and some good conversations on the phone which are a not a time-thief for me.

I was thinking of how with the economic downturn so many of us have tightened our wallets. We've gotten super frugal here and there in order to make a dollar stretch. Right now my challenge is to evaluate how I'm spending my time.

I'm sure an account of time spent reflects your true priorities....I so much want to look from the outside in on my life and see me playing with my boys, nurturing my home and gardens, loving on my sweet husband, lost in wonderful books, cooking up a storm, shooting timeless moments~ this is who I want to be.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


I seem to have writers block. It's not that I don't have anything to write about, & I have enough photos to make you all dizzy, but I just am not finding good words lately.

I'll start plainly.

When I wrote up my list of Keeping it Real New Years Resolutions, one of the things I wrote was:

Spend 15 minutes each day learning something new.

I got a couple of questions about this...and I do want to share because of all my resolutions, this is the one I'm most excited about.

Let me start by saying that I'm a perfectionist. Most people might think that a perfectionist would be staring a beautiful, uncluttered, organized desk right now. Well, that's not true. That might be more OCD or something. A perfectionist is someone who wants so badly for things to be perfect, that if they aren't able to do it perfectly- they might not even try. (That is me.) When I first got married, I wouldn't vacuum for the longest time because I really didn't have time to move all the furniture and do it right. I'd not really heard of the concept of just doing the traffic areas. ;) I got over that--but I had to relearn it. Not joking.

So that brings me to 15 minutes. In that same season when I was learning that it was okay to do the dishes even if you weren't going to clean, I learned from FlyLady the concept of 15 minutes. "You can do anything for 15 minutes!" She says. Breaking down all the insurmountable tasks in my life, making them doable, a little at a time.

I'm sorry to say that I'm not cured of perfectionism. I'll say that I've mastered it in the home and with our schooling...but not so much in larger arenas in life, such as self-education. I get completely overwhelmed at the thought of learning something new- even taking a class. My husband doesn't know what to make of me, I think. I just freeze up and lose interest in that thing I was oh-so-interested-in.

There are a few things I'd like to learn more about , or things I'd like to learn better. So I'm going to plug away at those things, 15 minutes a day. In a year, I'll be a rockstar.

This week, I've been working on reading my camera manual and learning a new song on the chords. It's fun to see what I'm learning already. 15 minutes is really doable. Last night I learned two new things about my camera that were so fun. I think it might be good too--because I might just remember those tips because I didn't learn 24 new things at once.

Now, I'm off to spend 15 minutes on blueberry muffins, then 15 more on paying bills.

Did you ever try cleaning out a closet in 15 minute increments? It really works!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Sweet Dreams

Tonight as I tucked Joey in we read through the devotional Bible we're studying. We talked about worry, about how God holds us in His arms and that no matter what He will take care of us.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in all things
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present your
requests to God. And the peace of God, that transcends all
understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in
in Christ Jesus.

Phillipians 4:6-7

I asked Joey if there is anything he worries about. He answered, "I worry that someone is going to die. (Pause) ..and that I'm going to throw up someday."

I love kiddos. How real is that? Needless to say we prayed together, both about death and vomiting.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Keeping it Real

Eli plays peek behind his snowman

I stumbled across this very realistic and ambitious friends' blog today, and I love her idea of keeping those New Year's Resolutions real in 2009:

As for me, I’m keeping it real, attainable, and utterly basic, so as to actually realize a few goals. Gone are the “read 30 classic novels in one year,” “become fluent in French” and "learn to play Bach" Jennifer in OR

I will say that I have a few lofty ideas about the year. But friends I will list some simpler things for you..
  1. I want to stick strictly to my resolve to put down everything and anything when my child asks "will you read to me" and always, always read to him.
  2. Keep more frozen/easy meals around so that there is something to cook when we run into crunch time so we don't have to just eat toast.
  3. Pay better attention to what my husband likes in the house or on the table, and do it just because he likes it.
  4. Listen to my children better, be less distracted.
  5. Make more home movies.
  6. Write an old fashioned letter to a friend or loved one every month. "Pen, Paper and Stamps" Jen says.
  7. Teach my boys to take care of their rooms and things better.
  8. Spend 15 minutes each day learning something new.
  9. Run and eat well regularly because it makes me feel good.
  10. Enjoy the beauty of my own backyard, & beautify it more.
So now...your turn. What's churning in your mind this New Year?

Saturday, January 2, 2010

New Years' Day

Friday, January 1, 2010

Snow Dog

Looking Back

This last week has been a wonderful, luxurious week for accidental staycation.

Our Christmas was wonderful, Mom and Dad Perko came all the way from N CA to stay and were here for nearly a week. We celebrated Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with both THE Perkos and the Rammage family, it was great. (We missed you Hazelfamily & Nikifamily)

Needless to say, when our guests left and I got the house kind of back in order, I was so content just to rest. The boys had a huge Christmas, and were happily drowning in trampoline-snow play, Wii play and then the other wonderful toys they got. So I took naps, played a little Wii (because I won't be left behind) , some serious Monopoly, hung out with my kiddos, and played a lot with my new camera...did I mention that Ralph got me a new camera for Christmas? I'm lovin' my new fancy camera and am taking regular breaks to learn it.
You'll see the evidence of it, I promise.

I can't remember the last time I was home and so restful, as if I was on vacation. It's given me a lot of time to reflect on the year, and think about the one to come.

Yesterday morning the boys and I started watching some home videos from the years past. I learned some things from the footage- got some perspective. This is what I noticed;

  1. Clutter around the house that might otherwise irritate showed the character of our home and told the story of the season. I smile at things like binkis & boardbooks on the floor, little boys covered in marking pen and stacks of laundry on the couch because that was our life then and I miss it a little.
  2. Serious-ness is overrated. I need to relax, ease up on the boys when they're being (appropriately) silly because it's cute now and again, I kind of miss it.
  3. Lately I've been thinking on what it means to be a "good" successful mama. Watching these videos made me think it's about being present. Listening to my kids rather than being distracted- even if it's to explain to them that I'm working/reading/writing so they can know they need to tell me later. Being engaged regularly is invaluable. Did you notice the twinkle in your daughter's eye when you brought your face down to hers to listen to her account of the sibling saga? Invaluable...
  4. Taking a minute or two of video regularly is a treasure. You'll have it to look back on for years to come.
  5. I don't love the sound of my voice.
  6. "Normal" life and "normal" days are wonderful to catch glimpses of. I need to stop and watch & enjoy my family more often.
  7. When you look at your child and think, "You'll never be cuter than you are in this moment"'re right.
  8. Season's come and go quickly. When I'm in the hard ones, remember that.
Walking into 2010 I'm going to be more mindful of these things, taking time to enjoy the days rather than tidying them up and correct. This mama needs to relax a bit.

This weekend I'm prepping for school next week. I've really enjoyed resting but I'm ready to get these kiddos stimulated and busy-minded again. We are back in class next week, headed for basketball and in full swing. I'm so grateful for the rest I've gotten this week. Happy New Year!