Looking Back

Since it’s already the second week of January, I figured I should finally review my year in regards to my resolution to be gracious. Well, I have been mostly successful. I must admit that I had sort of forgotten about it by the end of the year, but the work had been done in me and so the change is there. While, I’m still a perfectionist and would love to be completely right in all ways and at all times, I have learned a bit and am able to extend grace to myself and others, on occasion.

2011 was amazing for our family – with two fabulous vacations (LA and Disney), plus lots of time with our extended families (love them), but it was also hard with unexpected twists (Elizabeth). It was a year of tremendous growth for me personally (PTL!). It was a year full of really good home improvement and decorating ideas (kitchen & living room), and with some actual change in at least one room (boys). This was also a year with a pretty big loss (wedding and engagement ring). 2011 was a year of waiting, and yet there were lots of signs and steps toward where I’m waiting and wanting to go, so I rejoice as I look back.

But, I’m also looking ahead.


I Must Be Getting Older

They say (I don’t really know who “they” are, but I’m sure someone somewhere has said it before) that time goes even faster the older you get. Well, this fall has flown by. I can’t believe that it’s Halloween already. We have had a lot of fall fun in our house. We’ve made several of the requisite cider mill outings complete with donuts as well as feeding the ducks and petting the farm animals. We’ve raked leaves and jumped in the piles (ok, only some of us have done that). We took many nature walks together. We watched some football. We carved a jack-o-lantern and put up some decorations in the window. We’ve eaten lots of apples and made applesauce, but not pie… We’ll have to fix that soon before time runs away from us all together.

On Labor Day, we had a family meeting and brainstormed some things we wanted to do this fall. We have accomplished most everything on our list, which was extensive and included such things as rollerskating and whoopie cushions. And, while I don’t feel like it was a blur at all, I have sort of felt that life has been a bit hectic this fall. We’ve changed the schedule a bit to be home more together, but maybe as I’m aging, we’ll need to cut back further or guard our time still more fervently to ensure that it doesn’t go any faster because I really don’t want to miss any of this!

How do you cope with the daily rush of life?



The word that currently best describes our family… hungry. It’s not that we don’t eat, because we do. Lots. And often. Usually well. It’s just that we want to grow and be healthy and happy so we need a little more. And, I’m not talking about only food. Although that is a big part of our hunger.

Some of us are hungry for love and attention. Some of us are hungry for time at home. Some of us are hungry for safe places to run and climb and swim. Some of us are hungry for God’s direction and clarity. Some of us are hungry for praise and encouragement. Some of us are hungry for rest and peace and quiet. Some of us are hungry for affirmation and affection. We get these things, and we are satisfied. But, then time passes and we are doing other things. Eventually, we each getting a bit cranky, and we realize that we are again hungry… We want more. We need more.


Yes, I’m Complaining.

I am a planner. I like to plan and have everything organized and know what to expect as much as possible. I don’t really like surprises or last minute things. I don’t like to have every minute scheduled, but I do like to be prepared and have a general plan.

Apparently, that is only for home-schooling moms. If I want to be a planner and send my daughter to public school; that’s not going to happen. In June, when I expected to get a letter informing me of our child’s assignment to morning or afternoon Kindergarten, I was mailed a letter which basically stated that they don’t know anything and will send a letter in August with some information. At least I received my letter, the two other families that I know in the same K got an empty envelope and a blank letter… Why bother with an expensive mailing – wasting paper, money, energy on nothing!

Well, now I find out in the school district newsletter that there will definitely not be midday busing, which is all fine and good for saving money, but I’ll have to wake up a napping kid and that does not make me happy. I vaguely recognize that schooling is not about keeping parents happy, but making things really inconvenient is not a good policy to keep enrollment up and money coming in when I, and others in my position, could easily and happily homeschool and save myself the hassle.

Now that I’ve gotten all that out in the open, I’ll just say that in our family “We choose to be joyful even when we feel like complaining.” That’s our family way for this week! (See Our 24 Family Ways) Ironic, I know. So, I’m all done and am now ready to be joyful. Maybe next time, I’ll be ready to be joyful without complaining first… I’ll work on it.


Garden Goof

During the early spring, I ordered about 12 crowns of asparagus to plant and enjoy fresh, seasonal food. I was especially inspired after reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. Unfortunately, they arrived while I was out of town and sat for a few days drying out. So, I was worried about their success, especially when by the end of May, when I should’ve had more asparagus than I could ever eat, I still only had a few small shoots, which were trampled and squished by my little garden helpers.

Well, by the end of June, I am dumbfounded as I have giant plants taking over my landscaping. I also had a single whispy plant in three of the other locations where I planted the precious crowns. I had a very vague idea of how big the asparagus would grow. So, I wasn’t really surprised when some stalks got pretty tall, but I was a bit perplexed that they weren’t fern like at all. So, when they started to flower, I was pretty sure that these might not be asparagus plants after all. The tall stalks with purple-ish flowers were nice, but they didn’t look at all like the other asparagus ferns growing around my yard now. So, after an exhaustive search of the internets, my extremely intelligent husband determined the plant to be milkweed. This would explain the bountiful presence of monarchs in our yard this summer…

I’m just a wee bit embarrassed, but did introduce the kids to the wonder of milk from a plant.



I have spent the better part of the past hour looking for some resources to help me in my continuing struggle in being a “good mom.” A friend of mine offered the following words of truth and encouragement – not directly intended for me (I don’t think), but God knew I’d read it today…

    I’m a child of God. All my other roles in this world are just extras.
    I’m not defined by my role as a mother. My identity is in Christ. Being a wife and a mother is important to me but it is not who I am. These are roles that I value and cherish and desire but they are not me. I can easily (and sometimes do) turn these roles into idols and that will always end in disappointment. I know we will experience pain… but I find a lot of comfort in knowing God has a plan better than mine.

ETA: I forgot to title this post and so it was aptly named for me as undefined. Maybe one day I’ll be more sure of who I am…

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Playing Catch Up

Systems of organization used to be my forte, but now I feel like I’m in a perpetual whirlwind of piles and things to do. And yet, I choose not to do most of those things piled up and waiting to be done…

Today, my excuse was that the weather was too nice, so we had to go outside and play. The same will be true tomorrow. We are playing and growing and learning and sometimes doing the other stuff.

I like to think that I’ve changed in some way and matured – choosing to do the important over the urgent, but I still like to control everything and one day I hope that I’ll have it all under control too without doing any of the work…



On Monday, I will be fulfilling my civic duty and reporting downtown for jury duty. I am most distressed about this. I am still mostly exclusively nursing, since TJ doesn’t really eat any solids (although he does seem to like guacamole, pinto beans, and pancakes, so hopefully he won’t cry too much from hunger). I am really disappointed in this clear NO answer from God in my request to not go. I shouldn’t be surprised since every other avenue that I pursued (yes, I talked to my dr and this already a delay from last year’s summons) in getting out of this came up empty, but still I am. I’m also irritated at myself for being so selfish and ungrateful since jury duty is something that I should be proud to do, to serve in this simple way. My thoughtful husband tried to encourage me to recognize that I have something to learn from this all. I suppose he is right, again.

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Summer Fun

I kind of feel like I fell off the face of the earth this summer. I didn’t do any of the normal things that I anticipated this summer. We didn’t do a regular zoo trip with my girlfriends or meet-ups at the village with other girlfriends or playdates in the park or music in the park or sprayscape playtimes or backyard BBQs or camping or whatever I had thought we would do this summer. But, just because we didn’t do these things with our friends like expected, I am not at all disappointed with how we spent our time. We had so much fun enjoying time with our family, learning to ride bikes, taking swim lessons, shooting rockets, playing in our backyard, experimenting with different foods (mostly Brian), and just being together.

While the weather wasn’t terribly hot this summer, we were able to spend a LOT of time outside and are currently loving the return to school and the emptiness of our favorite hangouts (zoo, village, parks, etc.) Eila and Josiah are not ready for the end of summer so we will continue with summer fun for as long as possible. We may even do somethings with our friends, but coordinating requires just that little bit of planning and energy that I can’t muster. So, we’ll probably continue to be out in space somewhere.


Continuum Concept

A friend of mine recently emailed me this link and asked for my take on it. I generally adhere to this sort of parenting philosophy that some would call Attachment Parenting for the beginning of life, but for the toddler/preschool years I like to think I have a parenting strategy, but really I’m just trying to make it through each day while showing and teaching love and responsibility.

The continuum concept basically seems to say that we are social beings who evolved to meet the expectations placed on us and we thrive when in loving relationships. I whole-heartedly agree that humans are social and designed for relationships, but by the Creator’s plan not evolutionary adaptation. I believe that God made us to be social beings who need physical contact from birth with immediate response to signals of needs in babies (ie. nursing on demand, co-sleeping, being in arms most of the time for the first 6 months). I also believe that humans are rotten to the core (in theological terms we are sinful from birth – that is total depravity).

So, the continuum concept asserts that the reason children fight and are selfish and demanding is because we are a child-centered culture. While this may be a confounding issue I do not see it being the sole reason nor do I think that by simply going about our adult responsibilities with kids watching that we will not have any of these attitude or behavior problems. That said, I do see that when my kids are secure in the knowledge that I am confident in my roles and responsibilities there are less battles – some of that I attribute to the fact that when I am doubting myself and insecure my kids (as social beings and wanting to meet the expectations of those caring for them) pick up on that.

All this rambling basically to say that I hope that parents will be in a loving relationship with their Creator and from Him draw strength and wisdom to love their kids and care for them – meeting their needs and shaping them into loving and responsible people. God’s grace and love are limitless to cover the limitless mistakes made. I guess that is my parenting philosophy: God-centered.

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