Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Sometimes I have these flashes of brilliance that even take me by surprise. No kidding. Yesterday I was lamenting to Bestie Shannon that my kids are going to grow up to be serial killers because they don't eat fruits and vegetables and then this morning I got this genius idea (I have yet to test it on them) to make little magnet hands that they could keep track of their fruits and veggies on.
Now while I may be a self-proclaimed genius my art skills are that of a 1st grader so I'm sure you can make these better. Nevertheless, I am seriously patting myself on the back for these beauties!
Then I used the clip art on my computer to make these little 2x2ish fruits and veggies. I colored them with colored pencils, labeled them and put more contact paper on them. I put a magnet on the back of each. I made 10 different fruits and veggies for each kid and put them in a ziploc (I know, a better mom would have sewed a bag) with their names on them. This picture is a sample of what it will look like at the end of a perfect and ideal day.
Now if I could just come up with a way to get them to eat them without me threatening them I would really be awesome!
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Ok, so if you read this blog you probably know that Hot Jeff and I are very different people. We are wired really, really differently. And I'm not talking a male-female-he's-from-Mars-I'm-from-Venus different I'm talking like crazy opposites-attract-but-shouldn't-breed different. Hot Jeff is like a warm and gentle Spring rain; I am a torrential downpour. When Hot Jeff tells a joke its quiet and hilarious and if you missed it that is just too bad because he's not going to repeat it; when I tell a joke it is never without an audience and microphone and most likely someone else's material.
Our differences carry in to our parenting. When the kids started to walk Hot Jeff considered putting them in helmets. My approach was a little different and I'm certain they both have heard me say, on numerous occasions, "If you fall off the table and break both of your legs don't come running to me".
Jeff is meticulous and thorough and I'm messy and haphazard. Remember the story about the water getting shut off because I forgot to pay the bill and lost the warning notice? Yeah, that kind of stuff doesn't happen to Hot Jeff. Hot Jeff doesn't lose anything, well unless I throw it away.
So it shouldn't surprise you that when it came to making my garden bed our differences shined through. It started simply with Jeff asking me how big I wanted it. I looked at him cluelessly and said, "I dunno". We got online and found some raised bed ideas and went from there.
Off to Lowes we went. I was super excited to get the dirt so we headed to that end of the store first. I had grabbed a little shopping cart to put my bags in and didn't pay much attention to Jeff's snicker as I headed to the aisle filled with every brand of soil, manure and peat moss you could imagine. I quickly realized why Jeff had giggled when I grabbed my little cart because it would NEVER hold all the dirt I needed. Jeff asked how many bags I would need and I told him 6 bags of soil, 3 bags of steer manure and 3 bags of peat moss.
"How do you know that?" Jeff asked. I looked at him incredulously, "Um because I just do", I replied. Jeff leaned over my growing pile of manure bags and said, "You're only supposed to use 1 bag of these per 100 square feet. Since you have less than 20 square feet you should only use about a 1/4 of the bag and even then that would probably be too much".
My heart started to race. Beads of sweat began to form on my nose. Color rushed to my cheeks. "Well if a little manure is good then a lot is better", I told him indignantly (that's my philosophy on Tylenol too, by the way). "Only if you want your vegetables to taste like crap" he quietly said.
Turns out my Mom was a farmer in her past life and concurred with Hot Jeff and if you use too much manure (which gets really hot in the sun) it will cook your veggies. Blah, blah, blah.
Hot Jeff, realizing I was totally retarded and clueless, took matters in to his own hands, did the math in his head and bought the perfect amount AND BLEND right down to the cubic square foot. He loaded the bags on to the huge rolling-platform looking thing that had mysteriously replaced my little bitty shopping cart.
"Now lets go get screws." he said. "Screws?" I questioned. I would have rounded up whatever spare nails I could have found in the garage and hammered that thing together with a high heeled shoe...not Hot Jeff though. 20 MINUTES we stood in the screw aisle while Hot Jeff fingered every screw in every box. Alas it was time to go pick out wood.
"What kind of wood do you want?" Hot Jeff wanted to know. What kind of wood do I want? Has he not been paying attention? I looked at him blankly, searching my brain for the right answer. I pleaded with the dark recesses of mind to come up with something intelligent that would restore Hot Jeff's confidence in me...my brain remembered another moment such as this.
It was our first summer in Alaska. We had only met a month or so earlier and were still in that cute aren't-you-adorable-stage. We were sitting in the dining tent eating and he was inquiring about my day. I excitedly told him that Jami and I had found a bird's nest near the bathrooms and that there were little birds living in it. "What kind of birds?" Jeff asked. "Baby birds" I answered knowingly.
"Cedar" I blurted out, coming back from my reverie. Jeff nodded, "I think so too". Relief.
The rest of the story is filled with boring measurements. A lot of boring measurements and a level. Yes, I said a level. Hot Jeff used a level to place my garden bed on the ground. How friggin' awesome is he? Thankfully I didn't even have to ask him why he was wasting time with a level; he must have seen the glassy look in my eyes because he said, "We don't want your water pooling up". Oh yeah. Duh.
I'm fairly certain Hot Jeff has a secret college degree in raised garden bed building. How else would he know about wood screws?
You. Are. Wel. Come.
Hot Jeff got a little shy with all you women fawning over him and asked that I remove his hotness from the blog. I know, I'm not quite sure what's gotten in to him either. I couldn't just leave you all empty handed though so here's the next best thing to Hot Jeff without a shirt. MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY without a shirt! Hooie.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
But oh it is so snuggly warm under those covers.
So its coming. I promise. I know you are waiting with bated breath but we have a zoo trip with the Campbells tomorrow and Hot Jeff gets off work at 11 on Friday so I'm not promising anything before Friday night.
Lastly, thank you, thank you, thank you for your wonderful and encouraging emails regarding PYKM. I feel so blessed, honored and humbled that you would take a minute and write and encourage me. I think I may take a week or two off to get some fresh ideas and vision and then I'll start it back up again. Please pray for me during this time that God will refresh me and give me His heart for our kids. Praying for my kids is still definitely a passion of mine and as Sensei Jen Roth wrote to me it is a wonderful way to keep me in Scripture and searching God's Word for His direction and will for our kids. So thanks again for being so awesome. You are the best blog stalkers EVER!
Sunday, March 21, 2010
At a Crossroad
Alrighty friends, truth time. I don't know that I'm feeling the PYKM posts anymore. I have just started praying about it and am not feeling a nudge either way so I'm bringing it to you to let you help me decide.
Last week when I didn't get any comments about how your conversations with your kids went I started wondering if anyone is reading PYKM. I know my Cousin Rhonda is but I'm not sure about anyone else. I'm not fishing for compliments or kudos...I just want to know if you're still diggin' it because I'm not sure I am and if you're not then I'm probably going to take a PYKM hiatus.
So seriously, leave a comment or shoot me an email (or take the poll on the right) and let me know your thoughts. I'm still going to blog, you can't get rid of me that easy, but like I said, I may take a PYKM sabbatical.
Just keepin' it real soul sisters and brothers.
Friday, March 19, 2010
Way back in the day when Hot Jeff and I were just two young kids livin' on love up in Alaska...
Is that seriously not the best starting sentence ever? If there are awards for the best starting sentences for blog posts I'm pretty sure that one just won me the top prize.
Anyway, when Hot Jeff and I were working in Alaska on the remotest of remote islands at a sport fishing lodge (I know, right?) we lived in a 10x10 plywood box (I am not lying) that had no plumbing, one small space heater and electricity that was sourced from a generator. To make matters worse it didn't have any closets. Hot Jeff, always the gentleman, searched around and found some scrap wood lying around the island from various finished projects and built me some shelves that I could stack clothes, shelve my beloved books and use for whatever my little heart desired. And let me tell you, when you're living in a 10x10 box on a remote island in the middle of a river in Alaska its those "little" things that make a girl happy beyond measure.
My Hot Jeff isn't handy. He doesn't enjoy building things, he doesn't love the smell of sawdust and it took him just shy of a decade to finish our bonus room. He is uber talented in many areas and when it comes to around-the-house type stuff he's my yard/landscaping and painting hero but remodeling rooms and putting in flooring and all that other DIY crap he finds pretty uninteresting and unappealing.
That's why his offer to build my raised bed was so sweet.
And the fact that today was a State employee mandated furlough day AND he is studying for that pesky "little" CPA exam AND he doesn't like building stuff yet this afternoon he suggested we go to Lowes and pick out wood and he spent the afternoon building my beautiful raised bed garden.
And that is why this 3x8 bed is so much more than just a raised bed for gardening. It is a tender gift from my sweet husband who knows exactly what my love language is.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Well Ella isn't here yet. She's supposed to be here no later than the 22nd so I've already started saving my composting materials in a bucket in the garage. What do you fellow composters use as an "in between" from the kitchen to the composter? I know you can spend like $30-40 on actual counter top compost collection type thingy-ma-jobber but I doubt I can talk Della into getting me one of those as an early Christmas present.
You'll remember last year I planted my garden in pots and had great success with the 4 veggies that I planted so I decided to plant even more this year. Hot Jeff offered to build me raised beds (don't you just get all hot and bothered thinking of Hot Jeff hammering with his shirt off!) and I'm going to plant all sorts of fun stuff. The 4-H clan is pretty fussy when it comes to vegetables we will and will not eat so I've decided to donate my extra veggies (and the ones we don't particularly like) to my city's food share. I wish this were my idea, but alas it was my friend Al's and he wrote about it in our church's bulletin last weekend.
I've been talking to my Gardening Sensei, Bug, and she says carrots are cool weather vegetables so it looks like I will be planting those pretty soon. After that I'm pretty much clueless so I will need to spend some time withy my Bestie, Google, and find out what else is a cool weathered vegetable.
Well that's all I have to say about that. I'll be sure and get pictures of Hot Jeff building my raised beds. I'll lube him up with baby oil and spray him with a spray bottle so he's all glistening and sexy--we can make calendars and sell them on Etsy!
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
I'd like you to meet Ella, our new composter. Ella, I'd like you to meet the Internet. Ella is an early birthday present from my Mom who is still trying to understand why I would ask for a composter for my birthday instead of a Louis Vuitton handbag. I can only chalk it up to an identity crisis.
I named the composter Ella because "Ela" means earth in like Greek or Arabic or Hindi or something like that and my Mom's name is Della and she's always wanted a namesake. I'm not sure she wanted something that decomposes waste to be her namesake but beggers (and people named Della) really can't be choosers now can they?
I'm so excited about my new composter that I am seriously having a hard time sleeping at night. That is not hyperbole. I literally lay there and think about waste and C/N ratios and compost tea and how it will be fabulous for my garden and blah, blah, blah.
Bestie Kara thinks composters aren't worth the "trouble" but I think she is just jealous.
Sunday, March 14, 2010
One thing I like about praying with my kids before they go to sleep is because I get an idea of what is on their heart. This is more accurate with Samuel, as he is older, but even little Roo is starting to understand prayer and has things she wants to pray for. For example, the other night I asked her what she wanted to thank God for and she replied "binkies". So we thanked God for binkies.
While asking Samuel what is on his heart and what he wants to pray for I've been able to see what he is passionate about. Yes, he does pray for "silly" things but he also has a heart for praying for others. Already in his young life I am seeing that Samuel has a heart for people hurting around him and a passion for intercessory prayer.
By recognizing this in him I am able to pray with him and for him that God will continue to develop his passion for intercessory prayer.
Secondly, by asking what Samuel wants to pray for I get a glimpse of what is bothering him or what he is struggling with and how I can pray for his day to day needs. I encourage you this week to ask you children, 'How can I pray for you?'. You may be surprised by the answer. You may have to help them a little bit but they will catch on within a few days and they feel honored and loved that you are praying for them in specific areas.
This week I don't have a model prayer for you; I just really encourage you to have open conversations about prayer with your kids. If they aren't old enough to ask you to pray for something specific then take the time to let them know you are praying for them in this, this and this area.
Enjoy praying for your kids in a whole new week this way and please leave a comment with your stories of what your kids told you or how they responded when you told them you are praying for them. I would absolutely LOVE to hear from you!
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
For the record I like cats. I have a cat. I've had a cat all my life and I just love to snuggle with a sweet, purring kitty. We got Hailey the Wonder Cat before we had kids and I still like her better than Samuel or Emily.
For the record.
I'm not in to hurting animals. When I see something on the news or see something in the newspaper about animal abuse or neglect I can't even read/watch it because it haunts me; really messes with me.
I don't watch animal movies for fear something sad will happen to the main animal and I'll cry until the sobs rack my body and the people around me point and mock me (yes, this did happen to me in the 4th grade when Mrs. Lynch, in all her ridiculous wisdom, had us watch "Ol Yeller" as some sort of cruel and unusual reward). When I see a spider in my house I scoop it up and release it outside.
I'm a fan of God's creatures. For the record.
With all of that said I have a confession: I got online yesterday and researched ways to kill my neighbor's cat.
And in case you think you read that wrong I'll say it again. I got online yesterday and researched ways to kill my neighbor's cat.
The neighbor's cat's name is Jersey. It is black and white and thinks my yard is its veritable litter box. Jersey used to be an indoor cat and then its owners got a dog and so like many cats it has become an outdoor cat. When this first happened I really felt bad for it. I would see it sitting on the porch on cold, rainy nights and my heart just went out to it. But time progressed and Jersey seemed to get used to its new outdoor life (and now he kind of seems to like it) and now I hate Jersey and want it dead.
I'm pretty fond of my yard. Hot Jeff and I are yard people. We love green grass and pretty flowers and big, shady trees. We spend a lot of time and money on our yard and so when I'm out pulling weeds I get pretty freaking angry when I smell cat crap and have to shovel poop in to my weed bucket.
I'm pretty fond of the lovely fence my husband built around our backyard so that our kids could play outside in their playhouse and sandbox and backyard without having to worry about being hit by a car or kidnapped by a looney. I like sitting out on the patio and watching them fill dump trucks up with dirt and race them around the grass. I do not like hearing Samuel yell to me that he got cat poop on his hands while scooping dirt into a dump truck. I get pretty darn pissed off thinking about the diseases that are carried in that filthy cat's feces and potentially being passed to my children who are just innocently playing in their backyard.
My anger vacillates between the cat and the owners. I know the cat is just doing what cats do. We have barkdust and it likes pooping in it. Yep, I get it. It doesn't keep me from wanting to poison it.
But my neighbors...yeah, I may need to work it out during Shrink Tuesday because I have some real anger issues with them. If you're going to get a cat then take care of it. Seriously, what is the point of having a cat who never comes inside? I'm pretty sure you don't have some serious mouse problem that you need a cat to help you control. I'm pretty sure your home isn't finally free from the hideous rat infestation you used to battle because you have a cat. I'm pretty sure you had a cat that you really dug until you got a dog who you really dig more. And now because you are a terrible and irresponsible pet owner your neighbors have to suffer. Yeah, I think I got it.
So yesterday, after working in my yard for four hours and getting it all spiffed up and ready for Spring I was pretty fed up. Pretty much up-to-here with the amount of cat crap I had shoveled into a bucket. So I told Hot Jeff I was going in to the house to research ways to poison Jersey.
He thought I was joking.
Turns out there are all sorts of ways to poison a cat. It also sounds like I am not the first neighbor to think of, attempt to or follow through with killing a neighbor's cat. In fact, some lady on yahooanswers.com has lost 3 cats to poison and is pretty certain her neighbor did it.
Here's what is keeping me from poisoning Jersey (and it isn't my conscience): it sounds like I could actually get in to some trouble for killing a cat. Like serious-criminal-charges-trouble. My bestie's husband Drew is an attorney but I'm not sure he could get me off for cat murder. Especially after they confiscated my computer and saw my google search "How Do I Poison My Neighbor's Cat" (I wanted very specific results). This blog post probably wouldn't help my defense too much either.
Today when I told my other neighbor/good friend Melissa I had researched ways to kill Jersey she looked at me like I had gone mad. She then suggested the most unreasonable thing I have ever heard of--talking to the owners; try telling them I was concerned about my kids' ingesting something horrible and seeing if we could find a solution. I'm assuming Melissa's "solution" has nothing to do with antifreeze so I told her to "suck it".
Hot Jeff and I are actually thinking of putting carpet tack strips on top of our fence, all the way around, so that it would
So there you have it. I am paradoxically an animal lover who wants to murder my neighbor's cat. I am, however, NOT GOING TO KILL JERSEY or any other cat so just relax and put the phone down. And so help me, if even ONE of you sends me an email or writes a comment about spraying something in my yard that acts as a deterrent I will publicly mock you and may just come over and poison you.
Monday, March 8, 2010
I was younger I used to equate gentleness weakness. Thankfully, as I've gotten older, met more people and allowed the Holy Spirit to work in my life I've seen that gentleness is actually a sign of great strength.
God has blessed me with a very gentle husband. He's thoughtful in his words, tender in his teaching and cautious of others' feelings. As I watch him with Samuel and Emily I am grateful they have such a godly example of gentleness (as well as many other wonderful virtues that Jeff has). What's interesting though is while his gentle spirit is how I am quick to describe him I have never thought of him as weak, actually quite the opposite as though his gentleness gives him a quiet strength. I wasn't surprised then as I began researching for tonight to find the following passage:
The Greek translation of gentleness is prah-ot’-ace. The Greek language is a precise and expressive language. When the Greeks developed a word, they not only gave it a careful definition, but they almost always illustrated it. A tamed horse has yielded or submitted it’s strength; the strength of the animal is no longer wasted wildly, but has been focused in order to fulfill a purpose.
Gentleness then is power under control, submitted strength. I believe gentleness is one of those virtues that tells the world we are followers of Christ. In ourselves we are unable to reign in strength and power and have gentle spirits. Paul tells us in Colossians to clothe ourselves in gentleness and we learn in Galatians that gentleness is a direct result of having the Spirit living in us and "Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives." (5:24-25; The Message)
So let us pray for our children to clothe themselves in gentleness and point others to Christ through their gentle words and actions. Lord, I pray for _________ to have a gentle spirit. I pray You will put people in his life that will be an example of power under control and that he will see submitted strength as a virtue and not a weakness. I pray You will draw ________ to You and pour Your Spirit out on him. It is in the gentle and powerful name of Christ I pray, Amen.
*originally posted in July 2009
Thursday, March 4, 2010
God reads this blog. And I have proof. I wrote about serving my kids and about being all excited to serve them and guess what? They got sick. And while most of the time I don't blame God for illness and other generally bad things, I'm pretty sure this was His doin'. Just a little test to see if I would actually follow through with my good intentions of serving my kids.
Serving your kids is pretty darn easy when they are well enough to follow the house rules, go outside and enjoy a nice day, don't pull at pant leg all day and whine. Oh the whining...
When your kids are sick? Well that's just a whole 'nother ball game of service.
Now don't misunderstand me here; I am not talking about compassion. I've got all sorts of compassion for the poor babes...come on, I'm not a monster. How can you not feel bad for the little buggers when they are all feverish, and shivering and their little coughs sounds like they've swallowed a rottweiler so much so though that I don't know whether to give them cough syrup or perform an exorcism? Poor little things.
No, no, I'm talking service. Like true-I-love-you-more-than-I-love-myself service. That's a hard kind of service. Especially when that service calls for just sitting on the couch and holding them both while watching a marathon of animated favorites. Now like most stay at home Moms our schedules are pretty full so when a "stay home day" (as Samuel calls them) rolls around I like to knock me out some chores so you can imagine with 2 kids on the couch not making a mess behind the one I just cleaned up is rather appealing to me.
Yet when you've got a 2 and 4 year old who are EXACTLY like their mother and want to be loved on when they are sick there is NO house cleaning, or laundry, or bill paying, or blog writing, or thank you card catching up on, or anything else going on. Nope, its pajama snuggle time all day long with only the every 4 hour break to administer more fever reducer. And should I dare to get up and update my Facebook status or get a drink of water or PEE FOR GRACIOUS SAKES its all sorts of drama and whining. So I pretty much sit and hold and snuggle and don't drink nearly as much water as I usually do.
And I while I sit I wonder why its so hard to be still. I think about how in 10 years when they are sick and home from school they will just sit and text and want me to leave them alone. I wonder why I can't just stop looking at the dishes piling up in the sink and enjoy these lovable moments where both of my babies are by my side and holding my hands and not needing anything in the whole world but their Mama.
Last night I fought the urge to get online and watch Hulu while Emily slept next to me in my bed. It was 7:00 and she was sleeping fitfully; it was too early for me to sleep but whenever I left her she whimpered so I laid next to her and stroked her hair and fought the urge to go get Ruby and watch a Grey's Anatomy rerun. I thought about all the times my Mama just held me and loved me when I was sick and how I never, ever felt like she wanted to be anywhere else but with me. I thought about service and if how a feverish Jesus was lying in my bed I would never dream of watching TV or reading a book instead of singing a soothing lullaby. I thought about how I wanted to serve my kids better and how I wrote about it (and that's when it dawned on me that God must read my blog) and that this was my first chance to practice what I preached.
So I snuggled with that Baby Roo all night long. I stroked her forehead and sang her songs and kissed her sweet, soft hair (that was nice and clean after our bath together washing her vomit off of both of us). And today I put my big girl panties on and loved those babies of mine all day long. We had another movie marathon but my heart was a little less self-centered and a little bit more service centered and I can honestly tell you there was no other place I would have been than on the couch with Samuel and Emily.
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Just when I thought the Holy Spirit had decided to give me a little break (after all the retreat stuff) He came a knocking again last Thursday and last night.
Bestie Kara gave an amazing message at Hearts last Thursday about being a light to our children. I was soooooo good and maybe if you ask nicely she will write her thoughts on her hubby's family blog and you can go there and soak it all up and the Holy Spirit can pester you for a while.
So taking what Kara said about being a light to my kids and then coupling it with the verse I've been meditating on from PYKM yesterday ("Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord") I've been feeling convicted about how I serve my kids.
Let's just say I am getting impatient with them while putting them in their carseats (that never happens, by the way). They are fighting straps, reaching for water, binkies and sunglasses and we are already running late (again, all hypothetical...this has never really happened). And let's just say I bark, "You guys, get in your seats right now or I'm going to spank your bottoms" (I would never say that; this is just an example).
No let us back this up and as I put my kids in the car I treat them and talk to them as if they were Jesus. I don't see me losing my patience and barking at Jesus. What if when I was making the 3 thousandth peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch instead of wishing I were on a warm beach somewhere I made that sandwich with a cheerful heart and a song on my lips remembering that I was making the sandwich for my Savior (um, does Jesus eat PB & J?)? How would my kids treat their family, friends, spouses, kids if they grew up being loved and served as if they were God?
Please don't misunderstand me here...I know plenty of kids, and adults, who have ego-centric-center-of-the-universe complexes. That is EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE of what I'm talking about. I'm talking about a humble service-love that puts others before myself and models that same service for my kids so they do it for others. We've seen that kind of humility before...anyone wanna take a stab at Who I am talking about?
Now I go in to this with realistic expectations. I'm not perfect and my kids know how to push my buttons. Oh how they know how to push my buttons...but I'm excited for this new challenge of serving my kids; they deserve it. They are children of the King.