Saturday, May 31, 2008

Another spider video

I just wanted to share another video of the spiders (tiny little things). Get to see how my kids feel about spiders....

Creepy Crawlies - Viewer discretion advised

I know that some of my friends and family are not fond of certain creepy crawlies. We have become more than comfortable with the 6 and 8 legged creatures as our son, Noah, has developed an interest in Entomology (study of bugs). We also have a pet tree frog, whose diet consists of anything we can catch for him - spiders are some of the easiest to catch.

Noah went out to the back yard this morning and ran back to me, talking excitedly about spider eggs. We, in fact, had a spider egg sac that was suddenly hatching hundreds of tiny spiders and tiny little strings of webs flying out everywhere.

The pic and the video don't really do it justice, but you have to trust me, it was SO COOL! It was very much like Charlotte's Web when Charlotte's egg sac is released.

Isn't God's creation incredible!?

Friday, May 30, 2008

Great Woman!

I am so blessed to have my neighbor, Zelta, as a friend, and even more blessed to have her about 30 yards away.

She wanted to check on us this morning, just to make sure we were OK. She noticed our cars weren't parked in the normal places and knew that wasn't normal. It is so nice to know that someone notices... if there were really something wrong. She is always there for cup of sugar, or an egg for baking or a bag of frozen spinach or an extra jar of molasses (sometimes we ask each other for strange things in hopes of preventing a trip to the store, and sometimes, she has what I need!). The Fox family were the first people we met when we moved into the neighborhood 6 years ago. Her daughter, Suzee, has continued to be my favorite baby sitter, even after she abandoned us to go to college. She is a wonderful help and source of advice on everything from kids, to homeschooling, to baking, to gardening. I am so blessed to have them.

She also cares for my kids like a grandmother. My children were tasked with the care of her 3 kitties while they were gone for the weekend. The kids love the job and Zelta thinks to send them a post card. What a special lady! I thank God for her, for friends and good neighbors.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

For the love of disposable diapers and bananas

This morning, we needed to run to the store. We were down to less than I one day supply of diapers and 1 1/2 browning bananas (both are something that we really can't go too long with out). I don't know what got into me, but I thought - maybe we could go for a walk to the store instead of driving. I may have been inspired by a recent stroller brigade sighting.

My thoughts were :
  • exercise
  • fresh air
  • guaranteed good naps
  • homeschool fodder
  • still might be crazy
But as my sweet friend often says "It's good to do hard things." So, off we go!

We saw some beautiful flowers along the way

and some not so beautiful flowers, but the are SO fun to pick anyway...

I decided that I would use the Starbucks card that was slipped into my wallet by my rocking hubby, and the kids got samples. (before you call DHS - they were creme based, no cafe).

We dinned at Bales Thriftway on Baked Mac N Cheese, Corn dogs, Jojos and I found a turkey and bacon wrap with a berry sauce.

A trip to the rest room, Bananas, diapers and a treat for the walk home and to the cashier. BONUS diapers were on sale AND I had coupons!

We reloaded the stroller and headed home. I armed my walkers (Noah and Hannah) with bags to pick up garbage that they found along the road. A little dirty, but I figured the lesson in citizenship was of far greater value than clean hands.

Garbage can be fun and interesting....

and, I feel great after getting some exercise. I'm approximating the stroller, packed with two kids, diapers, 8 lbs of bananas, diaper bags and other sundries probably was at least 75 pounds - we have a decent hill too...I may need to make this a bi-weekly activity and might just shrink out of my fat clothes!

My husband: Organizing genius!

Our front hall closet.... generally an unbelievable mess. A few years ago, my dad suggested we add an extra hanging bar in the back, since there wasn't enough room for all the coats. That helped, but the floor seemed to be a constant pile of shoes. I tried to add a small shelf along the side, but then it just got crowded.

There are 6 of us...
We all have at least 4-5 pairs of shoes...
maybe that's excessive, but it seems hard to cut down - we have nicer sneakers, we have muddy sneakers, we have sandals, we have flip-flops, sometimes you need black and brown or white...

And the jackets, winter, spring, summer, rain, sweatshirt....

Oh well, so much for the minimalist, anti-materialism attempts.

My husband had a stroke of genius yesterday - and I really hope it sticks. He added this hanging cubby organizer. And now... I'm actually happy to open the closet, Zak knows where to put his shoes, where to find his shoes... this rocks. My hubby rocks!

Almost forgot - Anyone see what is missing? The first one to guess will get a beautiful wildflower bouquet from our next walk. (sorry, not really a fair contest if you haven't been to our house before)

Sunday, May 25, 2008

From drought to downpour...

WARNING - Long post - sorry, but did you expect a downpour to be light and short?)

The last few weeks have been dry for me... desert-like even. (anyone notice in sudden infrequency in posts?) I've been feeling un-inspired, un-spiritual, un-motivated. Days would pass and, as I'm climbing in to bed I wonder, did 24 hours really pass since the last time I did this? What did I accomplish?

I felt it most in my relationship with Papa... my devotion times were just not happening... I was beginning to wonder why I can't seem to hear from God. I kept pursuing and wondering when I'd feel moved again...

In about 12 hours, there was a deluge, starting last night (Saturday) about 11 pm...coinciding with the actual thunder and lightening storm that hit our area... It was beautiful and fearful and loud and productive.

I love watching lightning, and didn't feel much like flipping on the TV (which is my normal routine at that point in the night), so I pulled up the shade in the office and grabbed "Heaven" by Randy Alcorn. Somewhere between Chapters 8 and 9, I had something of a revelation, I think it was spurred on by this chart...

I think it was the line that says "Past: God walking with humans in the Garden. Present: Humans cut off from God. Future: God dwells face to face with humans." My mind was captured by that thought. I realize this is not a new thought by any means, but it really struck a new cord in my heart.

Sin is often defined as "missing the mark", we are literally falling short of the standard - which would be perfection. We can't be in perfect relationship with Papa if we can't see him eye to eye... yet, we all miss the mark, we all fall short. But God has litterally dipped down, out of his perfection, full of mercy and grace (which are gaining deeper defintions as I grow closer to Papa) to reach into our sin-filled lives and bring us to himself, in a place where we can see into his eyes, to know, even just a little bit of his heart. Wow! He leaves his place to draw us up... that's amazing!

As I began my day (Sunday) thoughts of God's reaching for me, where I am, these thoughts were lifting my heart into an internal praise as we went about breakfast and dressing the kids, getting ready to go to church. As the service begins, I sense something comfortable and familiar, Holy Spirit... His presence is there. The worship music is speaking the words in my heart. A quick glance at my husband tells me that he is delighted in praising God today as well. In hindsight, I believe that God allowed a great experience for both of us today that it would be a confirmation of all the good that I am experiencing. And then we begin to sing:

Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord, We will wait upon the Lord, We will wait upon the Lord...

Wow! All this time I've been waiting on the Lord... that's it! I have been waiting! He is teaching me patience. And my strength IS rising. That was cool - thanks Papa!

... but there was more, maybe its more of an alarm - WAKE UP CALL...

As the last worship song is coming to an end, I imagine Heaven (I've been reading about it, not too far of a stretch right?) Heaven will be much like God's original creation, earth with out sin. The Shack showed me what a sin-free relationship would look like, one of the biggest reasons I loved that book. Where everyones' concerns were full on expressing love to one another, with out the slightest concern for themselves. I imagine hanging out with Jesus and Papa and the Spirit; I imagine my Mother, who has been praying and petitioning for me and her grandchildren since she passed, she gets to put hugs around our necks and just be with us, face to face.

And then I imagined something that I can't explain, and realize it had to have come from God. I imagine someone who has hurt me, JS, in Heaven too. Someone I wouldn't want to be in the same room with, but as I imagine JS in heaven. I can see complete love for him from me, and he, with complete love for me. The hurt was gone, the offense was washed off and forgotten... wow, that's an image.... back to reality though, that can happen at the end of the age, but for now, I'm still choosing to be hurt. The music ends and we are seated to listen to Pastor Paul preach the sermon.

Topic: Toxic relationships. I'm ready to sit back and listen, assuming that this will be a good teaching, but not looking for anything too personally specific - after all, I don't have any toxic relationships, right? (Paul isn't looking at me is he? I think he's looking at me?? No, Paul isn't, but Papa is...

My notes:

Hbr 12:15

See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.

Keep the root from becoming the fruit - manifest in anger, control, violence.
The only way out of the house of bitterness is through the door of forgiveness.
What can put you in the house of bitterness? - betrayal; feeling that God allowed something bad to happen; self loathing / regret for your own deed.

Genesis 45 (read it, my synopsis) tells the story of Joseph. His brothers become jealous, as he is father's favorite. They sell him into slavery, but ends up in the favor of the king which allows him to save those that hurt him - his brothers, during a horrible famine. He forgives his brothers.

Eph 4:31
Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.
Eph 4:32
And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

Get rid of the toxin of bitterness
1. OWN it
When your root becomes the fruit, you become the offender, looking for revenge, to cause hurt in hopes of justifying your hurt. Your attitude is hostile. Bitterness is Sin. It is like the old cliche - "bitterness is like drinking poison and hoping that your enemy will die."
2. KILL it
Forgiveness is about getting over it. In Eph 4:31 the greek of "Put away" can also be translated "lift up" in the way that a fisherman would lift anchor and move away. When we get angry we tend to drop anchor.
Forgiveness is not about feelings, it is not about minimizing, it is not about reliving. Forgiving is releasing. Releasing the offender from a debt that they could never repay anyway.
It is a decision to forgive.
3. HEAL it
Ephesians 4:32 says "Just as Christ forgave you." If God treated us the way we want to treat our offenders, we would be in trouble.
Develop hope for that person. Imagine that person in perfect union with God. It culminates in blessing. When we start sincerely praying for the offender to be blessed.
It is the Jesus way...
Luk 6:27
"But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
Luk 6:28
"bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.

Remember how I said "I'm still choosing to be hurt." I think I dropped anchor. The rest of the world is moving on and I'm planted in the sand, but the waves of bitterness are drowning me. God clearly is putting this hurt on my heart, it is time to own it, kill it and heal it.

Joseph's words:
Gen 45:4

Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt!

Gen 45:5

And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.

Maybe it is that JS is doing what he feels is right. Regardless of how much I disagree with it, we have taken the leading of the Holy Spirit to be away from that. God sent us out of there. I can not any longer hold the hurt and anger and frustration with what is being done in someone else's life because it isn't how I would live their lives. I guess the truth is, I could never know I would live as someone else. My bitterness is judgment, and it is not mine to judge. Besides that, God has transplanted us... we are growing in new and healthier ways. I am going to be praying for blessings for JS, and that God will bless him. So, today, I choose to lift my anchor, sail forward towards the Son on the horizon. Pray for me, that the root of this bitterness is fully weeded out, and that good seeds will be planted from here out.

Ok -now, I know that was long and maybe you need to pick your chin up off the floor that I said as much as I have... have you ever known me to not be transparent? or not long winded?No dancing around it, here it is, all on the table.'s been quite a wet and rainy day....

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

HOT days

Ok, I know the hot weather spell is history in Oregon (it barely got into the 60s today), but its also the first time since the hot weather that I've had enough time to sit down with the computer. I really don't know what that will mean for the blog during the rest of the summer... but when we get a short burst of a heat wave I think we feel the need to do EVERYTHING, in case it ends too soon - which it did.

Temporary Insanity: Did I tell you about tilling the garden on the day that it was pouring rain, hail and 40 degrees.... well, I did it again. The day is forecasted to hit 90 degrees and I decide to make soup! .....
... I'd been planning on doing it all week and just wanted to get it done because I had the ingredients. I did it before 11 in hopes of keeping the house a little cooler. (side note - we do have AC, but I don't like to run it until it gets to be at least 80 in the house to save $$)

It's wedding soup - my signature... not like most Wedding Soup's you'd get else where, but it is famous. I'm happy to share the recipe, but don't think I'll type it up here and now, it is a longer and more complicated recipe. (maybe another post with it later)

So once the soup was cooling, the kids could finally kick into the summer activities....

How wild is this? Hannah and Maggy have virtually identical matching outfits, both were hand-me-downs from two completely separate families!!

getting out the kiddie pools. (last 4 years we have had a 8 ft round 3 ft deep soft side pool, it sadly, was pretty unusable after last summer, we are getting a new pool, but until it is put up, the kids get to play in these dinky wading pools and the sprinklers).

Does Maggy want to play?

Nope, the porch is a good place to play

Noah is totally a sprinkler kind of kid... the others, well, not as much.
This Girl thing...

So when I was a little girl, my mom only owned clear nail polish.... I don't think I understood the delight and thrill of being a little girl (and the mom of a little girl) who gets to put pink on their toes and feel pretty....

So on Saturday, Beaverton Area Little League (BALL) had a "Fun Day"... all the teams had games, there was a giant inflatable slide (about 30 ft high -- Zakey really wanted to go, but we were concerned he'd get to the top and freak out, so Shane went with him... he went by himself another 4 times!)

silent auction and concessions... oh yeah and Noah came away with a medal when he was done.

Grandma Jan and Grandpa Ken came up for the day... and Noah got two hits off the coaches pitch (Shane happened to be the coach pitching).

A little hanging out with Grandpa and Grandma finishes out a great day!
Sunday, BALL gave our team tickets to a Portland Beaver's Baseball game at PGE Park. It was a fun afternoon, but after a few days in a row with out naps, Zak was getting to be a little less coordinated... he slide down off Shane's lap to stand up and, oops, fell instead, smacking his face on the metal brace for the bleacher bench of the row in front of us. Poor kid. Although, he was more concerned with a scrape on his knee... I think he couldn't see his bruise, so it was out of sight, out of mind. not too bad the first day, just a line on his cheek, but by today - it turned into an uglier bruise and now a full on black eye. Poor guy!

Notice his lack of fear or concern for danger.... he's about the jump off the futon... I guess that's what you get when you name your child after a wee little man who climbs up in trees....

... but then again, Jesus loved him (Zacchaeus) and he loves this Zakeaus too... how can ya not?!

And there is our update!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Too hot to cook!

What a beautiful day today!! But really - who would want to be in a hot kitchen on a day like today?! (I was, but that's a post on another day)

Here is what I whipped up for dinner:

2 cups pasta (macaroni / shells) cooked in salted water, rinsed and chilled
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts - cooked, diced, chilled.
2 green onions, chopped
1 cup chopped celery (I like the leafy tops)
1 apple cored and diced
1 cup shredded cheddar
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup mayo
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp ground pepper
1 tbs dill weed
6 leaves of romaine (or leaf lettuce)
1 shredded carrot
2 tomatoes sliced

Combine noodles, chicken, onion, celery, apple, cheddar. In separate bowl combine seasonings and cottage cheese and mayo. Toss noodle mix with mayo mix to combine throughly. Break lettuce and line platter with lettuce and carrots. Pile pasta on top of lettuce. Put sliced tomatoes on top. I garnished with "McComrick Grinders" Tellcherry Black Peppercorns and
Roasted Garlic and Sea Salt.

Chill and serve.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A vain attempt to be like Mom

As the weather begins to turns nicer, my kids are sounding like a broken record...

"Can we go outside?"
"Can we go ride our bikes?"

And I love it! Whatever excuse we need.... I'm going to find a way to get dirt under my nails, even if its just for a minute or two a day. Lots to be done, but I am really starting to see why my mom was so drawn to gardening...

So! I thought I'd share my gardening efforts for this season with you. My mom had one of the most impressive green-thumbs I've ever seen, and as a kid, I really wanted nothing to do with it, short of eating the tomatoes off the vine. I wish I'd taken a greater interest as a child. Now I find myself doing a good deal of experimenting. But I am learning for sure.

The garden had been pretty neglected last summer, as I was put on bed rest the last week of June, and even after getting permission to get out of bed in August, found little energy to accomplish much. So... there was a little more work to be done this spring.
these are silk flowers in my front window box, which is really hard to grow real flowers in. Shortly after we moved in, Zelta came over and put some silks in it for me, and then came and changed it the next season... now I change it about every 4 months.

I rented a cultivator from Home Depot for 4 hours... ooh I wish I'd taken a picture of that! It was a day I arranged to have Shane work from home so I could get it done... a bit more planning would have been smart! It was 40 degrees and hailing most of the time that I was tilling. Came back in the house resembling a wet and muddy rat. Took another 5 hours to warm up after that.

I am slowly working away at chunks of the lawn to make more room for more plants. Unfortunately, the cultivator didn't really get up as much of the grass roots as I 'd hoped. Zelta (my wonderful neighbor and good friend) has offered suggestions for getting grass out, that I will use in the future. But now, we have a few plots that need to have the grass pulled out. Noah has been told that I'll pay him by the bucket, so it is something we'll work on together.
I'll start in the back of the house. We used to have 5 rhododendron bushes along the back of the sun room. I pulled them out about 4 years ago.

this is my rhubarb. It is descended from the rhubarb plant in my Dad's garden. I used to grab a bowl of sugar and walk out there, pluck it, break the root and leaf, and then dip it in the sugar... yummy. It isn't doing as well as I'd like and it's been there for 3 years, so I'm trying to think what to do at this point... I think it doesn't get enough sun and might be getting over watered. My Dad's rhubarb rarely was watered (other than rain) and has full sun. Suggestions welcome...

Behind the rhubarb are two tomato "trees" and a tomato -potato plant. I got them from a "Gardener's Choice" catalog as starts... I'm a little skeptical if they are going to produce. (if you look close, they are there in the picture... but could be confused for SMALL weeds) I may grab another start or two as I'd really like to be able to can some tomatoes this year. Quick explanation on the tomato-potato... apparently, the tomato and potato plants are similar and so they grafted the two together. Tomatoes are supposed to grow above ground and potatoes below... we will see!!

Up behind the sun room is where I have my compost bucket... a green machine.
I don't know if I'm doing it right. I recently found a book that came with it saying something about layering grass clippings and food waste... it was mostly food waste until I saw that. I haven't tried to open the bottom flap to see if there is "rich" soil there yet... I'm scared! I might not use the compost soil in the garden until next year...

There isn't a whole lot more that can be done in the back yard, and we hope to have a pool and already have a sandbox back there...

Front yard - had a Japanese maple when we moved in - I give it a bowl cut with the clippers every spring. A few years ago, Zelta and I (with the help of Zelta's son Robbie) went scavenging at a house in the neighborhood that was being demolished. They helped me rescue three rose bushes. I wanted roses, but didn't know if I'd screw them up so didn't want to pay. These three bushes are now around the Jap. Maple.

Above the maple are some herb starts, chives, basil, mint and hopefully parsley that was there last year will return. There is also a lemon balm plant that Zelta pulled from her plant a few years ago. Below the maple is a 3 ft by 12 ft patch of strawberries... when I can keep them contained. I don't know if you know this or not, but strawberries are like the bunny rabbits of plants... they are constantly shooting off vines that root down and start new plants. I had shoots that were 10 feet away! Lots of blossoms now though, so hopefully lots of fruit.nothing really to show in this picture other than my beautiful darling daughter, who loves to dig with us!

Below that are more starts from the catalog... still skeptical.... 6 watermelon plants and 6 yellow squash and 6 green zucchini.

To the west of the maple I have installed a lattice for my beans.
I started these myself in a Jiffy dome... will definitely do those again and would recommend.
Almost every seed I put in started into a plant and it was so easy! Next to the beans there is another hill that I threw some seeds to Edible Pea Pods... didn't start inside, so we'll see how that goes...

To the west of the beans I'm putting in some sunflowers (the starts you see aboce), and any other flowers I come across before I say I'm done planting.

since I'm new at this, I'd love to hear any advice, criticism, suggestions or the like..

OK -little PS... the other day, sunny, warm and working all day out side. Maggy takes a nap and we continue to work outside, with the monitor close at hand. After about 2 hours I make note - wow she's been asleep for a long time. I ask the kids, "the monitor is still on right?" "YEAH MOM".... an hour later, I think I better make sure it's working....

Zak turned it off :-(

Maggy was pretty distraught... I don't think she was crying for more than a half hour, but no way to be sure.

This is Zak telling Maggy he's sorry after being punished... poor baby!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

How I spent Mother's Day

In years past, we have waited for hours to get into a Mother's Day brunch (even with a reservation), went to restaurants on Saturday to avoid the crowds, gone bowling... all fun - usually because of the company. But I think this may have been one of our best Mother's Days since I have been blessed enough to qualify!We had a lazy weekend in Dallas (Oregon, not Texas) at the In-Law's house (Jan and Ken Frederic). It is a beautiful place to go, every visit feels like a vacation, the kids got to play, we shared incredible meals and I watched my children enjoy themselves....

what greater gift can a mom have?!

We were also fortunate to get to spend the day with Grandma Morgan - Shane's maternal Grandmother - She's a legend! An awesome woman of God, INTENSE prayer warrior, wonderful conversationalist, adoring grandmother, so loving.... I could go on.
She has 4 children, 2 step children, 16 grandchildren and 26 great grandchildren. (I think my count is correct?!)

The Frederic abode is a comfy house, full of comforts, wood burning stove... always buzzing with visitors. People will stop by just to say hi. (Like Grandma and Grandpa Frederic -Ken's parents, Oscar and Betty - sweet people!)

The 3 acre property sits along the Little Lukimute River.
There is Louie... a Dalmatian- Mastiff mix, as gentle as any dog I have ever seen.

There are rock piles to play in.
Almost all year round, there is always something yummy to pull from the ground or a tree and eat. The kids really enjoyed the rhubarb.
Noah got to help Ken pull weeds out of the area that is going to be made into a pond. He loves to work with Grandpa!

Shane got to ride on the tractor, his Mom says its fun - like therapy for her.

Zak and Hannah helped.

It was a great weekend. No one wanted to leave to come back home.... not one of us...

I'm really looking forward to our next trip down - Hannah's Birthday is May 31st and we'll spend the weekend at Grandma's, per Hannah's request.