Sunday, July 31, 2011

Our Sunflower House

I've been excited to share this little hide-a-way with everyone who walks in the door. After reading through Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots by Sharon LoveJoy, I knew I needed to grow this little place to play in our yard.

Thankfully, I got the seeds in in time, and we have flowers! This is a shot looking in the doorway. Morning Glories are planted with the Sunflowers to climb up, up and maybe even cross to other flowers, creating a roof.

But do you need a roof on a playhouse that stands 12 feet in the air? My heart swelled with kid-joy (I still have it sometimes) today as I watched Nate walk out there after our camping trip weekend to inspect growth. He wasn't even 1/3 as tall as these flowers. He looked so, so small!

When I planted I used a variety of heights, colors, types of Sunflowers. I cannot tell you that I know the types, only that I adore each of them, and they smile out at the neighbors every day.

The Reds have been earliest to bloom, quickest to loose their petals.

A few down low make for great inspection for little eyes and fingers. Yes, you may pick.

Another beautiful thing, the bees! We can see them, hear them, watch them collect, but they really stay up high, allowing the kids to feel safe from them. Another interesting could just be me, but it seems that since we have honey bees the yellow jackets have disappeared. I'd prefer to have bees anyday!
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Contended Heart

The boys and I will spend our day first tidying up around home, grocery shopping & then doing our final pack for a weekend camping trip. Things around here are humming along, summertime is at it's peak and we're fully enjoying it.
On Bicycles:
We're down to one car this summer, and for a season. So far, I love it. It's been the perfect reason NOT to be lazy and drive to the library (a mile) or wherever we like. We are blessed to live in the middle of town...we can easily bike to the grocery, library, pool, Farmer's Market, parks, Karate. The boys have learned so much through biking about traffic, looking ahead, road signs and caution. Now that we've been out a lot my goal is to speak as little as possible when we ride. The "leader" gets to navigate, look for signs, make all decisions that I can see are good options. Of course we have the occasional "STOP!" from mom in the back but usually the boys do an excellent job, including my soon-to-be-six-year-old, which has impressed my socks off. THIS is summer school. Traffic School. Navigation School
On Growing Up:
I was not really prepared for this sweeet corn-schucking-boy to get all his curls chopped off. But he was. I guess I thought since he is seven and he does have opinions I should let him. It is his hair...and he was tired of hearing how "beautiful" and "wonderful" his curls were (no wonder!) So I took him to the barber across the way and they cut it off while he was still wearing his roller skates. I think he's still a cutie little boy, and he looks a little grown up now. Think?
This is our sunflower house, from standing in the doorway. It's a lovely place, Morning Glories winding up and Sunflowers smiling out at all the neighbors. It's a fine place to hide out.
On Houses...
We sold ours!! No, not this one. Not our new house, but the old one. A year ago today we moved to this new town of ours, and for all that time our little Redmond, Oregon house has been empty, sitting, waiting for a new family to occupy it. Wednesday was the day all the papers were signed it was recorded that we no longer have two houses, two mortgages, our feet in two little towns on the West Coast. You can only imagine the enormity of this weight lifted for us. It's been an emotional week for us, a longest year for us. I'm so glad to be just HERE.
We picked them, I pitted them, I pied them and they're gone.
On Cherries:
The boys and I picked 35 lbs. I pitted them all. I froze a lot of them and they are ama.zing. on yogurt, ice cream, you name it. Of course they're good in pie, too.

Come on by, I'll make us a glass of iced tea...
I spend a lot of time lately thinking about our move. A year ago today. I was letting go of a home, a known life, friendships, living close to family. Big losses. The little losses were hard; leaving my garden nearly ready to harvest. The unknowns were harder; would we be able to find a home where we could have our dog? Our boat? What would this new town be like? Would we find a church (of course, but always a long process) and friends? Could I really start over all again?

Sweet favorites in my garden, nevermind the weeds

On Garden-of-the-Heart:
While I don't miss the process, not a bit, I see the value in these hard things. A year later, most of those unknowns are resolved. Sure it's easy to see in the rearview mirror, easy to see why this all was growing me, but even in the process I felt myself hurled into trusting my Only Hope, because God is the sure known factor in our lives. Over and over again I was reminded that nothing is sure. (Shouldn't I know this yet?) History....tossed through a nasty abandoment & divorce, miscarriages, and too many moves...shouldn't I know this?

God is my only, only sure thing.

And in these days, in this country, we really have very little to want for. I can say that I'm grateful for the opportunities to see my true need. It is a good thing to want. It is a good think to see our need. What do we turn to, what do we turn into when pressed?

...and again I'm seeing the process. The harvest that comes from letting a seed die and be planted, watered, nurtured through the sunlight of our Creator. And grow. Bloom, create fruit as we are intended.
So now I'll say it out loud.

I'm okay with it all. I'm okay with loss, and letting things go, moving forward and being pitched further into faith and learning what it means to be content in all circumstances. I pray for humility. I pray that it won't take gigantic losses to send me back to a God who loves me so much. If I am to loose all, I will cry and grieve, I will probably fight. But it's okay, I'm just fighting my silly old self and He's going to win that one again and again so that God will show up as the One who pulls me through and out of this, and holds me through it.

Can you see it? Can you see that I should have melted down a long time ago? I should be a wreck, a monster? It's true. But for God's grace alone, I am resting. I can stand back and see the good that comes out of what was intended for bad.

I pray you'll see a glimmer of light in me through the cracked soul I am. The light that is Him. I pray you'll wonder about Him more, and the peace He gives in every circumstance. I pray you'll believe and get a seed of eternity in your heart that will grow into a joy that can't be struck down by a thing.

Philippians 4:11-13

How I praise the Lord that you are concerned about me again. I know you have always been concerned for me, but you didn’t have the chance to help me. Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. Even so, you have done well to share with me in my present difficulty.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Getting my freak off

If you could only see how many "drafts" I've started of blog posts. I'm really in a writers slump. Not so much because I don't know what to say but that I don't know how to say it.

So I'll ramble at you. Frivolous stuff, nothing deep.

There are precisely 6 full weeks left of summer and I'm doing the freak out. Don't know what I'm talking about?

Did you ever have someone offer to watch your kids? You have 2.5 hours to do absolutely nothing or absolutely everything and you were so, so very excited; thrilled to have the free time for just you and get so much done you were wanting to do for the last five years and then you drop the kids off and ......? What on earth do I do? Where do I start? Why would I work for my precious 2.5 hours when I only get 2.5 hours a year alone and oh help!! Now I only have 2. 15 hours!!

THIS is the panic I feel right now. I only have six weeks to get my house painted, organized top-to-bottom, my children growing and behaving beautifully, oh! and of course had a full summer of play time and fun, school planned, tutor lessons planned, and good grief! I only have six weeks left!

So starting right now, at this very moment, I'm going to stop the freak out.


Right now I'm resolving to continue enjoying my summer while fulfilling a few simple goals that will help me to ease into the school year.

I cannot paint the whole house. But I can finish Eli's room. I started with a smudge of too-orange-yellow. I'll go get the color fixed and paint his room up next week. I can do that.

And I will go pick blueberries. I'll take my kiddos and we'll fill our buckets if only once and we will have picked berries to freeze and dry.

I will work on my lesson plans a chunk at a time. I'll get done what I can and aim to have 12 weeks finished before school starts.

I will keep my toes polished pretty-the-way I like 'em, and take my time doing it.

I'll keep my garden up and the weeds down.

I'll begin to sort through the basement. This is a big one. Where will I store the toys that aren't being played with that I just can't sell ?(Thomas & such) I will grow my goodwill pile and keep driving over there b/c I'm not having a garage sale. No.

And I'll see my friends, take a surprise-for-my-husband's-birthday trip. I'll chat on the phone with my sisters and friends and I'll breathe while I do it all because the world won't fall down if I don't get it done.

Yes, I'm a little neurotic. But I would love to be a bit more settled at the end of this summer in this new-to-us house than I was at the start.


Blogging is therapeutic. Know it? Reading your blogs is therapy for me too. Thanks, friends.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Funny Week

My husband is gutting & fileting a fish...

Eli: we're eating that for dinner?
Dad: Yup.
Eli: Can we just have peanut butter and jelly sandwiches?
Dad: I think you might like the fish.
Eli: But I never eat fish.
Dad: You like fish and chips, right?
Eli: That's made out of fish??

The Boys & I were riding our bikes home from Karate...

Joey looking at a truck (having recently read about biodiesel):
Joey: V8? Does that mean it uses Tomato Juice for fuel?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Trying again....Nate's Bedroom

scroll down for another little post....


"What are we going to do now?" asked Tommy.
"I don't know what you are going to do," said Pippi, "but I know I can't lie around and be lazy. I am a Thing-finder, and when you're a Thing-finder you don't have a minute to spare."
"What did you say you are?" asked Annika.
"A Thing-finder."
"What's that?" asked Tommy.
"Somebody who hunts for things, naturally. What else could it be?" said Pippi as she swept all the flour left on the floor into a little pile.
"The whole world is full of things and somebody has to look for them. And that's just what a Thing-finder does," she finished.

Pippi Longstocking
Chapter 2: Pippi Is a Thing-Finder and Gets into a Fight


Let me begin by saying that it's really a delight to read something silly to your children. I love to read good stories with wonderful characters, and I love to read a good book that makes my boys giggle, wonder & imagine.

Back to five-year-old has got a knack for finding a most wonderful thing: money. Nearly every time we come home from an outing, he puts his hand in his pocket & says "Mama! Guess what I found?!"
"Fifty-seven cents!!"

I'm no longer surprised, but sometimes it's perplexing for his brothers. They can't seem to believe Eli's luck. But I've explained to them this; Eli finds the money because he's looking for the money.

It brings me back to wondering about joy, gratefulness, misery.

I have been kind of pushing through my summer with a sort of duty, things to do, people to see, places to go. In all that mash I've kind of lost my eye for beauty. Not finding so much joy. Forgetting thankfulness.

In the Spring I started my thankful list, I got really good at finding things. Things to appreciate, (washing machines) things to enjoy, (little boy laughter) things to remember, (the way he holds my hand from the car to the store) things to laugh at, (the silly face I've seen a million times). But I've gotten out of the habit of looking. Looking for joy... but when I am Thing-finding, joy-finding....I find it. Always, I find something to enjoy.

What is it? What happens when we grow up that we get all serious and too busy to live. To breathe the moments in and out and look and really see a person?

Regardless, I guess all I can do is to fight my own little tide of gloom. Start again, numbering my blessings, joys and silver-linings. I'll pick up the pen and start again counting my joy:

835. a whole, entire day to be at home; make order and rest
836. kind teachers that invest in my boys
837. a fisherman-husband who loves to visit with me, everyday.
838. long-distance phone calls on the couch, smiling at dust bunnies without a care
829. the rustle of wind through the trees
830. a lunch date at the kitchen table with my Nate, playing staring games and giggling together.

What thing will you find today?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Teeny Tour

I've been excited to share with you the finished product....My puppy-loving boy chose this quilt and the wall colors to match. I love the color choices and I think the room turned out pretty cute. What do you think?

This room, Nate's room, might just be my favorite bedroom of the house. I hope to rectify that once my bedroom is out of construction, but for now I just love these windows that look out at the sycamores, Woodpeckers and other flitting entertainment. I liked this room so much even the first time we looked at the house.

I started with the Green, and added the huge Brown stripe. Nate wanted just more stripe and I wanted the contrast of a darker brown. My girlfriend suggested I just add a darker stripe and I LOVE it.

Makes me think on Joe's room...maybe it needs another stripe? But for now, it'll wait. :)

Eli chose this duvet cover with a little prodding. In truth, he really wanted a dinosaur quilt. I hesitated because as much as he loves dinosaurs he gets bad dreams about them. I thought maybe we should do something more....restful for on the bed. So he chose the alligator (still a reptile) pulling the moone in a wagon. I love it. I picked up matching paper sconces (Ikea) and wall hooks and am planning to paint his room next. Yellowy orange or orangy-yellow. Boy yellow. Do they make that color?

But today all that paint will wait. I pitted my last of #35 of cherries yesterday. I made raspberry-cherry freezer jam and served it on toast this a.m. All the work was worthwhile when Eli said "This is the best jelly in the world, Mama!" He picked those very cherries. :) Summer fun!
Today we are taking the boys to the movie annual treat. They've been so looking forward to seeing Cars 2, so today we go. I'm also planning on poking around in the garden and finally planting some plants I keep watering to keep alive in plastic containers. I haven't put pumpkins in yet so I'm hoping they'll give us fruit in time. I'd better just do it today.
Sunday is our Sabbath, I try to rest as much as I can doing things that I enjoy and are restful. Cars 2, maybe I'll take a nap? Maybe I'll see if hubby wants to go without me?

What are you doing today? Do you take Sabbath? A day of rest?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Keeping My Head and other treasure

My lovely, creative-parenting sister wrote an article about how she plans to keep things cool at her place this summer. Go ahead, peek at her ideas, I'll wait. You won't be sorry. (Then you can cruise through some of our family camping photos)

Back? Let me just say that I'm so blessed to have such a great resource in my sister. She has been working with kiddos for many years & she is the girl I call when I'm stuck on a kid-conundrum. Her input has shaped my parenting in beautiful ways. If you're not already, you should be a little jealous of this sweet sister I have. If you're curious, leave a comment on her blog, she loves to share her parenting ideas. Little sister plug.

Keeping Cool: We've set up the pool, I'm setting up more camping dates, and reserving my mornings and evenings for gardening, or bluntly put, weeding. I'm making up fruit smoothies and freezing them into popsicle molds for the sweetest treats.

I've been a mom for nearly 10 years. I'm a slow learner, I guess, but I feel that I'm finally beginning to get this summer-ing thing down. I have discovered some treasures, some anchors that help keep me sane in and out of the school year.
Routine, simple or complex is necessary when we're lounging around the summer house. I'm a type S person (S for Spontaneous), so I like to keep a very, very loose schedule. But I have a little checklist for the days of summer (that we're around home) to help keep me grounded. It looks like this:


What’s for dinner?

Where’s your laundry?

Bible and Memorize with Kids






What’s for dinner?

Where’s your laundry







Chillin’ with My Hubby

Notice I'm reminding myself to do key things...laundry and dinner? That's because I'll seriously forget otherwise. No joke. Dinner? What dinner?? (Keeping Cool: Today I've got the crock pot going on the deck to keep the hot outside).

Treasure for me: simple, relaxed, routine.
By having a bit of an outline for the days *I remember to do the things that are important to get done, even in the sloppy summertime. *Also, the boys have light structure rather than sitting around all day wondering what to do. *Maybe my favorite part is that I still get some good face time (Bible Study, reading aloud) with them. Honestly, if I don't stop and see my kids, they could run around and play all day without any interaction.

That is just too, too sad.

You'll notice the "tooth brushing note," this reminds me that I'm working with the boys on good cleaning habits. They've been slacking some, and I just have to stay on top of things with my big boys. I wrote it down so I won't forget.

I love summer as much as the next mama, I love the sunshine, the way it glorifies everything it falls on, the chaos and laziness of it all. But I'm rattled by too much sloppiness so this works for me.

A little order in chaos, beauty in summertime.

Posted by Picasa