Why does this feel familiar?

The other day I told the kids to get out of the kitchen. That's right, I sent them away. So much for learning experiences and togetherness. I was tired of tripping over them and their stuff....they stepped just over the threshold of the kitchen door and set up camp. Not exactly what I was thinking.

I talk about this sometimes overwhelming physical attachment that our children have to us like I don't like it. Really, I am just prone a bit to drama myself and so I talk about it this way. Really I love it (except when I don't). It makes me laugh. And it fills my affection cup all the time.

But seriously, I was watching those gorillas thinking, "Now there's a mama that knows how I feel."

Yard Sale'in

We had a driveway sale a couple of weekends ago - multifamily from our street, plus some add-ins. Maybe it's the East TN in me, but that is my idea of a Saturday well spent. We made enough money to cover the donuts from a local bakery for breakfast and tacos from Benny's for lunch - plus maybe a little extra. We squeezed some lemonade from lemons from Nate and Sarah's tree and the kids gave that out with some bran muffins - you want to help keep your neighbors regular, right?Co-laborers.
Hired entertainment - Elton Little John (with his library book club necklace on)

S.L.O.B. (Support Locally Owned Business) Our local deli/market owner gave the kids some t-shirts. That same day was the South Park Old House Tour (that's why we did the sale - lot of foot traffic). We were too busy to make it to the homes...or maybe we are still full of our own old home tour from St. Louis and subconsciously didn't make it out. Regardless it is a neat event. Several rehabbed homes are chosen each year for tours and then they have a central festivities area with food booths, music, and rehab business vendors. That's where the kids got the shirts. But now Joseph just runs around with his very large shirt on threatening to slob us.

Wish turned quarrel

Happy Birthday, Mouse!!

It's better than just "Why?"

Joseph has delivered some stellar questions lately.

Last night, on about his 15th trip out of bed, he asked his dad, "Do bunnies dance?"

So as not to encourage the disobedience of being out of bed, Mike just said he would tell him in the morning. Unfortunately, Joseph did get out of bed again (for a different, unremembered reason) and unfortunately did get a spanking - after which he asked through a sniff, "Daddy, do bunnies dance?"

He still didn't get his answer until the morning. But from his sister he learned yes, bunnies indeed do dance.

On one of his earlier trips out of bed last night, he came to solve an argument brewing between he and Olivia. Does August (our neighbor) have a sister? Olivia said no, Joseph was convinced he did have a sister. In reality August is an only child. I tried to explain this to Joseph.

"But, but...who is the girl on the pink bike?" He asks, very concerned.

"The pink bike??? Joseph, that is your sister. Olivia."

Joseph, after a long, thoughtful pause..."Oh."

Back to bed.

Yesterday at lunch, with his food all over his face and hands and his plate empty, he picks up his fork and asks, "What was this fork for?"

Good grief.

Tecate Mission

We drove down to the border last week for Mike to preach at a chapel service at the Tecate Mission. It is an English speaking Christian school attended mostly by Mexican kids from the city of Tecate, just across the border. I was so impressed by the kids. They had better attention during chapel than most of the college kids I knew at Covenant. We spent part of the morning with them and then went on a little desert hike.

You are looking over the border.

The Mission is the group of buildings in the foreground of the picture.

Fake reality

This is really what I do all day.

31 weeks and counting

Just this week I asked a friend to take a couple of pictures of us. I have a couple from my other pregnancies and like being able to compare them. And plus I always wished I could have seen my own mom pregnant, so I thought Olivia and Margaret might like them. I wasn't planning to post them though - it just always feels a little weird posting pictures of myself. But to please Sage and Allyn (and probably my mother), here you go.

We could have a baby in 5 weeks if this one comes like the others. I am certainly showing signs of that. But as much as I don't mind skipping that last month of pregnancy, I would love to skip the nursing problems and jaundice - so we are going to try to keep her in as long as we can. Which means everyone around here is getting bossy about my activity level...and by anybody I mean Mike. Honestly, I'm too tired to fight it much anyway and as a mother who makes decisions constantly it is actually kind of nice to be told what to do on occasion.
Our new life of 5 will be interesting, especially as church planting activities are ramping up. Not sure how or when everything will get done. My desire is to enjoy more than I stress over. Thankfully, Olivia is a good hostess - so she can take over some of those activities.
Not sure what kind of interpretive dance I was doing here...

Just dessert

All I said was, "I am having chocolate withdrawal. I forgot to get some at the store this week."
And he goes in his closet and pulls out a 72% dark chocolate bar. Man!
If he were me I would accuse him of hoarding for himself. But he isn't and so I know that bar has been waiting there for me to make just such a lament.
He's good to me.

At the car wash

Or, the OK Corral

Being green

Friday night movie night. The Muppets Take Manhattan. Although Mike was lobbying for The Dukes of Hazard since that was his Friday night routine growing up. Not sure why they chose this position to watch it from. We ought to hook the computer up to the t.v....

More to learn than cooking II

I continue to learn a lot from, believe it or not, Julia Child about marriage. There is a partnership-ness about her relationship with Paul that is really encouraging and motivating. This is something that Mike and I have started to call mission. Even from Genesis we see God's creation of marriage as mission. Eve was given to Adam and then they were both given tasks - multiply (can't do that alone), rule and subdue the earth.

I am realizing at this stage in life (small kids) it is really easy for our tasks in life to run parallel or even in different directions, but not together. And that is really odd because so much of life at this stage necessitates help, partnership. But it is easy to get into a grove, especially as the mother and think that it is just easier to do it yourself - you know the routine best, you recognize the signs quicker, you know where stuff is because you decided to put it there. But doing it alone is exhausting and not nearly as fun.

Paul and Julie never had kids and they got married much later in life, so there are no real parallels for life right now. But they certainly had mission together. Granted, their mission was more for consuming life and culture and people. They served others as a by product of that (with meals and friendship and shared life), but their motive or drive was not necessarily to serve and love others. They really capitalized on their similarities and strengths and weren't put off or threatened by their differences. It seems like we often fall into the trap of criticizing or trying to fix one another's differences. We see them as flaws or weaknesses rather than just part of you that is not like me.

Anyway, continuing to learn.


They argue a good bit over various things. Mostly they just pester each other - it is never really anything big. But mostly they are becoming really good friends. Tonight they put on a "show" for us before bedtime. It was a dancing show and Olivia had to show Joseph how to put his arm around her "like the boy does" - glad we've danced enough in front of them that she knows. Or maybe that is from watching The Sound of Music a million times. But, friends or not, you still ought to wear a helmet when your playing baseball with your brother and he is pitching. It's just smart.
This is how he does most everything these days - with the baseball glove on his hand...or head. Just a little handwriting practice. Olivia really gets into this and Joseph has incredible handwriting for his age and attention span. He appears to be a bit of a perfectionist, gets a little ruffled when he comes off the line.

That was Memorial Day, by the way. Hence the red, white and blue...and Valentine socks and pink sandals?? Our neighbor is a retired Marine so we took the kids to a memorial service that his VFW branch hosted at a cemetery near our house. The kids made some American flags with tissue paper and Olivia took hers to Mr. Frank, the marine (remember him from Halloween - yells from his recliner for Irma to get the candy when we knocked on the door) and he promptly hung it on his door - it's still there.

The pain of loving

Today has been a killer day in the parenting department. Actually, all week has been tough. I think sometimes sin gets hold of our hearts in certain ways that just kind of run us over for a time. Olivia and I both are struggling - her with being argumentative and me with being patient and gracious. I was going to put a note on my refrigerator months ago that just said MORE GRACE - to remind myself to give it, live it for their sake. I certainly don't need a sign that says REMEMBER TO FOLLOW THE RULES or CONSISTENTLY ENFORCE OBEDIENCE. I am naturally a legalist, always have been. Our children will not grow up wondering what is expected from them that is for sure. But my fear is that they might grow up a legalist just like me. So I remind myself over and over - MORE GRACE - so that they know, more important than our expectations is One who has met every expectation for obedience and righteousness. There is One who forgives our offenses and makes us right, right away. He doesn't wait for us to get it right or make it right or redo it (like I do). When we repent he says, absolutely and right away, I FORGIVE YOU. I forgave you. No restitution is exacted. I am a restitution exactor. Yuck. We are growing. We practice confession and forgiveness a lot so that we will be reminded that restitution is not exacted from us for every sin, just repentance. Consequences often remain, but the punishment has been fulfilled. Thank you Jesus.

That is not at all where I was headed with this post, as you can see by the pictures. But as I sit here to reflect on the day I am burdened by Olivia losing dessert for certain behaviors and then we end up eating at the fun 1950's diner for dinner. How do you eat at a diner and not have a milkshake?! We did it. Every durn one of us. We all paid the price for her behavior because there was no way we were going to add cruelty to her punishment and eat it in front of her. We are a family, a Body. Our sin and our sanctification effect one another. We all suffered for one, twice. Because then Joseph tripped and fell on our walk back to the car and popped his balloon bunny that the funny man in the restaurant made him. I think we all nearly cried. It is so hard to love other people so much. My life would be so poor if I didn't love them so much.

The pictures. Baseball. I'm not sure who loves it the most in our family. Parenting is intense - you need something to love together as family.

From the kitchen

I have been completely encouraged in the kitchen these days. I feel like I am finally hitting a grove with cooking the way I want to cook - healthy, tasty, interesting, simple. For the most part I think we all feel really good, enjoy our meals together, and I'm learning to do it as a good steward of our money and our bodies. I've tried a bunch of coffee cakes in the past and, honestly, when you try to make them healthy they taste like cardboard with a crunchy dirt topping. This one was great and we ate it with PLAIN yogurt (it was sweet enough) and fruit. I'm not good a linking to things and I am too lazy (actually, I just want to go to bed and read my Julia Child book) to type out the recipe. But I got it from passionatehomemaking.com. Actually, I have found a lot of pretty good resources from her lately. I made her protein bars - yum! Perfect since we are an almond butter family because of allergies.

While I am recommending things - I found her family food budget the most helpful of any I have read on line. Most of you know my math skills are...well, anyway I try really hard to be frugal and can figure things out, but then I can't remember what the best deals were or where they were. I write them down, but...well, let's just say Mike walked through the dining room the other day and asked, "Are you starting another journal?" I have one for school research, cooking, health food research, etc. I have notebook/journal issues. But her way of making a budget, where she shops, how they like to eat, etc fits with us - so if you are interested it is a link on the right side of her blog.

Also, I will just confess here that I am about to embark upon project MAKE IT MYSELF. Here is what I am going for: laundry soap, dishwasher soap, shampoo (already doing this - my scalp which has itched sine I hit puberty has not itched at all), hand soap, and baby wipes. Some things will be money saving (some of it we bought cheaply anyway). Some of it will just get some of the chemical junk out of our house. I'm not a fanatic here, but honestly have you ever tried to cook while the dishwasher was running? That stuff reeks! Well maybe I am becoming a fanatic. But I am really trying to stay balanced about this whole thing. I am trying to trim down our budget and simplify our life. On the outset it won't be so simply - figuring out how to do it all. But in the long run I love the idea of fewer products and smell good or not at all.

I'll keep you posted. I have two months to make it and give it a trial run. If it doesn't happen by baby time, it will probably be another year.