Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Mt. Hood Excursion and Having Fun With Your Kids

This last week had been quite challenging. Four of my children had been either puking or it was coming out the other end. We had been laying around the house for what seemed days. I couldn't stand it any longer, so I loaded the kids up and told them we were going to find some snow to play in! Mt. Hood is only a hour away from here. We took the back way and went to the Timberline Lodge parking lot.
The kids got out in the cold wind and mist and managed to have a great time exploring. They even found this "snow cave".
Lily and I stayed in the van pretty much the whole time. She had the fluffiest hat! She loved playing with the steering wheel. Jacob wasn't too thrilled about it the cold either so he stayed in the van too.
Snow ball fights, sliding down on their bellies and building a snowman, were all accomplished in the brief time we were there. It was nice to have a change of scenery. Maybe one of these days we will go up when the mountain is clear. I want them to get a grasp on how huge it is. We have only been there when it is covered in clouds.

Do something fun today or off the wall with your kids. You don't have to go mountain climbing! You can have a picnic in your backyard, make a fort from the couch cushions and actually crawl in it (wouldn't that shock the children), make popsicles and eat outside with them. Talk about the things they are learning. What are they interested in? Tell them what you are interested in, too. Teach them to have a two-sided conversation. This is a skill that seems to be lost on children these days. It is all about them. They never ask about other people and what is going on in their lives. These things must be intentionally taught. What better way to do it when everyone is relaxed and having fun?
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Monday, June 28, 2010

Father's Day On-Duty Visit

Steve has had to work several Father's Days in a row. This year was no different. We were thrilled when he came home for a minute! Lily couldn't stop hugging him!
Pointing at mommy behind the camera.
I tried to get a good Father's Day picture, but no such luck. This is what you get! LOL!
Silly kids that want to mess around on a booster rig, not pose for a picture!

I bought Steve an Archaeological Bible for Father's Day. He is thrilled with it. It goes into detail about the digs and finds that they have discovered. Also, talks about the culture back then.

Steve has been working hard trimming a bunch of trees and cutting some down around the house. The kids are less than thrilled when they see Dad lug the chainsaw out. That means they have branches they have to drag. Oh well, it teaches them to work hard. The boys are learning a valuable lesson on complaining. They asked how much they were going to get if they dragged all the branches. I named a price, they threw a fit. I told them "you just shot yourself in the foot, now you are doing it for free." Oh, they were mad. Better they be mad for awhile and learn a valuable lesson. They will not always get paid to do extra chores. Sometimes you just gotta get things done without the expectation of getting paid well or paid at all. We all have to help around here. I don't think I'll be hearing complaining for awhile. Aren't I a mean mama?

Steve has been hammering the overtime lately. We have had some extra bills pop up with my tooth being pulled an all. I am so thankful that he is willing to do what it takes to make ends meet. It can be frustrating at the same time because this means I can never leave the kids with him. If there is a call he wouldn't be able to call in on it. I am trying to figure this out and not be in the bad space I was in about this nine years ago when this happened. It is hard to not be resentful. I am going to be relying on friends and planning things better so that I can still get a break once a week. I'm a better mama if I can have two hours to myself to just think, pray, and run an errand or two.
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Friday, June 25, 2010

When You Have to Say Good-Bye

I haven't wanted to post this. I've postponed it for awhile, because it is just too painful. I am experiencing something that most people in their life have had to go through at one time or another. I've been blessed, I've never had to say goodbye to close friends until now.

To give you a little history, we met Paul and Rachel through our older boys. David and Joshua had become fast friends in the short time Josh was in Kindergarten at public school. We started running into each other and then began inviting each other to our homes. It was such a blessing! They were not afraid to host our growing brood and we loved having them over as well. Both of us were equipped to handle the extra kids. Each child had someone around their own age.

Rachel and I shared our last three pregnancies together. It was so wonderful to be able to talk "prego shop" and know that someone else was either right before me or right after me in whatever I was experiencing.

Rachel and Paul are officers in The Salvation Army. They do a tremendous job and go where ever they are called. They have been here for six years. Each year was more special then the next because officers get moved quite frequently. As each year went by, I knew how blessed we were. This year they are moving to the San Francisco area. It is such a long distance. My only comfort is that we can call each other, email and check each other's blogs. You can visit Rachel's blog here.

When we first met, Rachel and Paul had two children, now they have five. We had three and and now have six. That is a total of 11 children all together. We have gone camping together, to the zoo, restaurants and many other adventures! To have like-minded friends and have husbands that connect on top of that is a rare thing indeed.

This Sunday, my life will be changed. I will no longer be able to call her and ask if she can watch my kids in a jam. I will miss going to tea and having a little down time with another mom of many. I will miss having them over for dinner and getting invited over to their house and talk for hours when it seems like minutes.

I am trusting that God will fill this huge hole that is being ripped into my heart.

Please pray for Paul and Rachel's and their family as they make a huge transition from small town to big city. Rachel is a simple, country woman and this is a big stretch for her. The house they are moving into does not even have a backyard. Their role as officers are changing from having their own corp (church) to being in training to eventually manage one of the Army's many  "ARC" (Adult Rehabilitation Centers). 

I will miss you and I love you more than words can say. Thank you for being such wonderful friends. Know that we are praying for you and thinking of you.

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Helpers in Training and Catching Up!

I was pleasantly surprised to see little Lily pushing the broom around. She is starting to get to that age of imitating. I need to be more purposeful about letting her help.
Jaker's Man got into it too. I am needing to get him his own jobs. He is more than ready. I was recently inspired by an article on by Raising Homemakers . This incredible lady has a knack for teaching kids how to do their chores. I have printed out some articles and am going to be reworking my chore chart once again to include the little ones. I have always done most of the laundry, but I'm going to be passing that baton on to the three older ones soon. Jessica is now vacuuming and Andrew is learning how to clear and wipe off the table.
Here is Lily eating a scone on our pioneer cemetery outing. It was fun having a little snack in the tall grass. She would just disappear! Seriously, the grass came to my waist!
Oh, I love being a mama! Chubby cheeks to kiss anytime I want to is definitely a perk! I love it when Lily says, "Mama" and wants to be picked up. I know how quickly these times go as they grow and mature into little people. Her hair is coming in lighter than expected. She and Jacob have the same eyes and the same hair. Now that summer has come, I enjoying putting on all of her sundresses. She looks so pretty in them and she likes to spin.

Steve and I are working through an excellent DVD series called, "Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage". It is truly hysterical! It isn't super spiritual like Gary Thomas (whom I love), but more practical. It is Christian-based and I have decided to make it part of my s*x education when the kids are ready for it. If I would have known these truths earlier on, I think I would have made fewer mistakes in my teen years and early on in my marriage. I can't tell you how wonderful it has been around here. Far less bickering and a lot more lovin' going on;) as we learn how to communicate with each other and value one another for who God made them. God continues to use marriage to sactify me and to learn more about what He wants for me. Steve is a gift from God. I need to treat him as such.

I'm a fairly serious person and at times I need to remember to lighten up. I read this awhile back and thought I would share it with you:

"Smiling Eyes: Sometimes a day can get so busy, and we can get so preoccupied with all the things that we must get done that we forget to smile into our children's eyes. We can forget to make that heart connection. Even on busy days, when my kids come to me to share a story or ask a question, I try to "twinkle" at them to let them know that I am glad to be looking at them.

If a kid is cranky and resists "twinkling" back at me, I'll tickle him or spin him around or do something else that is silly or unexpected-anything to make him or her crack a smile. The minute or two it takes to make that connection is so worth it
."-Mary Ostyn from "A Sane Woman's Guide to Raising a Large Family"

This post is all over the place, sorry, but I've had a lot going on and no time to share my thoughts. I've been so much better about being on the computer, see my article about my computer addiction here. I am doing my best to "Keep my Head in the Game".
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Monday, June 21, 2010

My Veggie Garden

Sorry, there is a smudge on my camera, but I just wanted to share what my garden looks like right now. My strawberries are doing amazing this year! I actually had enough to make a strawberry chicken salad! I picked a pint and a half today. My veggies are doing OK now that it has warmed up a bit. Here are beans, cucumbers and some red cabbage.
I now how a compost bin! This will hopefully keep the baby from eating the orange peels she finds on my compost pile! Yucky! I also have some sweet onions, Chinese snow peas and tomatoes planted.
My peonies looked beautiful this year! I think they are so bright and cheerful. I am finally winning the war on weeds. I don't think I was ever going to make it this year. We haven't had this much rain in a LONG time.

Are you gardening this year? It seems to be the rage. If so, tell me why you garden. I'm very curious to hear from all of you.

In the meantime, Happy Gardening!
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Friday, June 18, 2010

Back in The Saddle Again!

It has been almost two years since I have ridden horses. This has been torture for me. When I was growing up after a long day at school, I would jump on the back of my horse and go for a ride to unwind. I did this almost every day. You see, I have been pregnant or recovering from pregnancy for the last 10 years. For a Father's Day present I asked my twin, Jackie if she and I could go for a ride with Dad on his ranch. To coordinate this would take a lot of effort, but it turned out to be so well worth it.

God couldn't have given us better weather. It was so beautiful and warm. No wind and plenty of sunshine. The wildflowers were in full bloom and the grass was lush and green. Here I am on Dundee. This is the best horse Dad has in my opinion. Very mellow!
Dad showed us his cows. It's so cute listening to him brag about them as if they were his children.

Didn't this picture turn out awesome? That's Mt. Hood in the background. The sky was so clear you could also see Mt. Adams, Mt. St. Helens' and the tip of Mt. Rainer.

My dad should have been born a hundred years ago. He is a true cowboy and is part of a dying breed. He loves ranching and I hope that he passes all of his knowledge to our children. The horse he is riding is a horse he raised from a foal. Nellie is now his roping horse.

I love visiting old homesteads. You could tell this house was something in it's prime. The bay window was so endearing. It was still sturdy enough to walk up the stairs and check out the second level. I've never seen so much mouse poo in my life! It had four bedrooms upstairs. I always try to imagine pictures on the walls, furniture and a woman mothering her brood of children, cooking in the kitchen and such.

Oh what a day this was! I'm so thankful that Steve watched the kids this last weekend so I could spend two nights with my folks at their ranch. I was able to do 48 scrapbook pages, hunt for grey-diggers (a nasty small squirrel that lives underground) and ride horses. I even came away from this weekend with a new goal. We passed by a hay field that my dad hadn't cut yet. I decided that I wanted to learn how to swath hay. I've raked hay and baled hay with a tractor, but never actually cut it. I realized I really like being on the seat of a tractor. It is relaxing and it feels like you are accomplishing something. So sometime this next year I am going to have dad teach me to swath hay. Hey, everyone needs a goal! My sister rides a Harley, I want to drive tractors!

Life is good...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Special Tradition Passed On

The other day my twin sis, Jackie, and I loaded up all the kids for a little field trip to a favorite pioneer cemetery. This cemetery is about four or five miles from the ranch we grew up on. When we were kids we used to explore the grounds and look at all the headstones. We found Clara's grave when we were teenagers. When we read the inscription our hearts were pierced. We both decided to make it our personal mission to see that Clara Campbell's grave would not be forgotten. It has been over a hundred years ago since this little nine-year old girl died, yet she is still being remembered today.
The inscription reads,

"I pray you if you ever pass this sunken grave within the grass; touch tenderly the crumbling stone and say for me in undertone, Clara, Clara Dear".

My heart just clenches as I picture the parents of this obviously much-loved child standing over her grave weeping.
Jackie and I have now passed the baton over to our children. Here they are whispering "Clara, Clara Dear". I don't know why but these kind of things just grip me. I don't mean to be morbid. I just enjoy connecting to the past. I long to be remembered long after I am gone. Even if it just someone coming by and touching the headstone of my grave.
The grass was so tall it was hard to see most of the graves. The little ones were swallowed up by it! It was a nice adventure and I know my mom would have been proud of us. She loves to do this kind of stuff with us. In fact, we used to sit on the edge of this grave and have our picnic. I know, not the most respectful (yikes!).

This picture is of the old school house across from the cemetery. We used to drive by this every day and sometimes we would stop and explore it.
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Monday, June 14, 2010

Bev's Famous Scones

Here is the recipe for Bev's Scones.

Bev’s Scones

Yummiest scones ever!

4 cups of white flour (I supplement a cup of whole wheat pastry flour to make it a bit more healthy)

1/2 cup white sugar (I use 1/2 cup raw sugar)

1/2 tsps of salt

2 TBs baking powder

2/3 cup of cold butter (cut into pieces before you blend in with pastry cutter)

2 cups of heavy cream

2 tsps zest of lemon or orange peel

Sift dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Cut in butter until mixture resembles cornmeal. Add lemon zest and cream. Knead with your hands until well mixed (you can’t over-knead this dough!). Place dough in fridge for ½ hour.

Roll dough out ¾ inch thick. I use a round glass to cut them. Brush heavy cream on tops and sprinkle with raw sugar.

Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

(This is a double batch, so if you want to freeze the other half of the dough, or freeze part of the cooked scones, it works great!)

If you want to see this recipe being made, you can go to Youtube and watch Bev make them. Click here!

We enjoy these scones so much at our local tea house. Bev, thanks for sharing!
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Saturday, June 12, 2010

New Turnouts

These turnouts aren't new, but it was a cute picture anyways.
Steve has lost weight, so he needed some new turnouts. They look so pretty and clean! Not for long!
The flash really picks up the reflection of those stripes. I'm glad they work for those late calls on the freeway.
Lily didn't know what to think of Dad's duds!
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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Weaned Child

The Weaned Child

Psalm 131:1-3 says, “My heart is not proud, O Lord, my eyes are not haughty. I do not concern myself with great matters or things too lofty for me. But I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me. O Israel, put your hope in the Lord both now and forever more.” (Emphasis mine)

In the past I would occasionally come across these verses and be touched that God would care enough to talk about nursing mothers in His Scripture. I felt it was a nice passage, a comforting passage about hope and being humble. But God made this portion of Scripture come alive for me a few weeks ago.

I had decided that it was time to start the process of weaning my 13 month old. Since I didn’t have a pump, I would cut out a few feedings every couple of days. I had no idea what I was in for!

Lily REALLY liked to nurse! She had no other comfort or attachment to anything besides her mama. Since my fourth child, I have not just nursed for nourishment’s sake, but for comfort as well.

As I started to wean her, she became increasingly agitated and demanding. She would scream and throw herself sideways in my arms as I tried to give her other options. She didn’t want to snuggle or drink from a sippy cup, she wanted to nurse! It has been anything but quiet and peaceful around here.

That’s when I thought of the passage again in a whole new light. “…But I have stilled and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me.”

I get it! What Scripture is saying is that even when I don’t get what I want, I should quietly and peacefully snuggle and rest in my Father’s loving arms, trusting that He truly knows what is best for me. This is not a “cutesy mother” verse to put on a Mother’s Day card, this is powerful!

Now that Lily is weaned, I can see such a difference. She is content to sit in my lap and snuggle with me. She is happy again! There are no expectations on her part. So it is with God and I. Contentment is what it all boils down to. Am I content with the blessings that He has chosen to give me? Am I satisfied to learn from the trials and “thorns” that I have been given? Can I live with the fact that He doesn’t and won’t take away everything in my life that makes me uncomfortable?

I encourage you to quietly rest in His arms today like a weaned child. Don’t avoid the pain, offer it to the God who never wastes pain and sees every tear that has been shed. You can trust Him with it!

From One Mom to Another,

Lily finally content in her Mama's arms.
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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Our Anniversary Trip (Part 3)

Another historical site that we visited is Donner Memorial State Park. The is where the infamous wagon train who was headed to California got stuck at Truckee pass and ended up starving. Half their party was wiped up by starvation and the others survived only after resorting to cannibalism. I hope no one is offended by my husband's actions here, but he does try to find the humor in all things, especially death. I think that is partly what makes him able to do his job.

This rock formed the chimney of the "Murphy Cabin".
The plaque on the rock, showed all the names that died on the two left hand columns and on the right were those who survived. It was almost 50/50.
This base of this memorial statue shows how high the snow pack was that year. 22 feet! No wonder they got stuck. I've always liked this statue and felt saddened as I look at the mother holding her baby, helpless to feed and protect it. I can't imagine being in her shoes.
This plaque tells the whole story. If you click on it, it will magnify it so you can read it for yourself. It would be a good home school lesson for your little ones.

We took a lovely walk around this park. The weather was incredible that day! We also went to Tahoe and ate lunch. We had a wonderful trip together and after I got home, I think it finally hit me just how hard I do work. I think I need to take a bit more time to refresh myself and our marriage. It was a bit of heaven on earth!
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