Friday, March 23, 2007

Grandpa and Grandma's Farm-Long Photo Post

I have no time to write, but I took a mini break to upload these pictures I've been working on in small moments all week.

Last Friday we took my sister Hannah home (unfortunately my parents won't let me adopt her so I can have her at my house forever), and spent the weekend there.

We had perfect spring weather.

Here are a few obvious reasons my kids love going there. I think this sheep is a Columbia cross.

I *heart* old trucks!

The woodpile. It would be cool pic if I hadn't gotten that string or whatever in it. I was in too much of a hurry.

The kids love to feed the chickens (or boc-bocs, as Sarah calls them).

They lay these yummy beauties.

The kids also love to check cows with Grandpa. They watched this little guy play...

And this one getting a snack.

Gorgeous belgians!

It was a fun, relaxing visit. Just what we needed before gearing up for this crazy week.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Gift of Family

In my case, extraordinarily wonderful in-laws. Billy's parents have always been kind and generous to me. This week his mom came up and packed my kitchen. She also took a huge pile of laundry home and washed it. Now that's love! I just had to brag on her a bit. His whole family is helping us with our move. They are great.

After we married I quickly fell in love with all Billy's extended family as well. A few weeks ago his Aunt Dottie and Uncle Troy had a crawfish boil for our going-away (and to celebrate a few other family achievements). What a fun day.

I remember about 8 years ago when I first ate crawfish (in a casserole, not whole) at the home of friends. I commented that I'd never really eaten seafood before. My friends laughed and said, "Crawfish isn't seafood. It's a bug!" So it is. A mudbug. But a delicious bug all the same.

Have a great day everybody!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Stress and Transition: Survival Tips

Which I'm learning as I go. And which are subject to revision.

Here are a few things that I've found help in transitions such as our current move, by trial and error.

1. Pace yourself. Take breaks when necessary. Even take a day off if you're really zapped. You'll get more done by resting as needed than you will pushing through exhaustion. (Yes, I should be in bed.) Take a short break to do something fun.

2. Give the kids some ownership in the situation. Today I gave Elizabeth 2 boxes for the toys remaining in her room. I told her she could pack them any time she wanted, as long as it was done before the movers arrive on Saturday. This seemed to help her a lot. She feels she has a bit of control in a world where everything feels insane. (OK, it is insane.)

3. Give extra hugs. Snuggle more. Midday hugs gave me strength to get through the rest of today.

4. Stay hydrated. Ummm, need to work on this one.

5. Realize it's OK to be sad. Even the best of transitions usually involve some kind of loss. It's normal to mourn those losses.

6. Take comfort in domestic rhythms. Vacuuming, folding clothes, and doing dishes have kept me sane these past weeks. Also blogging. I've also tried to keep the kids' rooms as normal as possible till the last minute so they can have one place that's comfortable and familiar.

7. Give your children things to look forward to. As long as they are continually looking forward to some small pleasure, such as supper with friends, they don't get too bogged down in the overwhelming pressures of the moment.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Amazing Grace

Friday night Billy and I took advantage of having a babysitter in the house and went on a date. We ate and San Fransisco Oven and saw Amazing Grace. Beautiful story, beautifully done. I'm looking forward to seeing it again. I'm not one to quickly turn into a fan, but I have to say that Ioan Gruffudd is fast becoming one of my favorites after seeing him in Fantastic Four and now Amazing Grace. Loved it. Do go see it if you haven't already!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Scattered Thoughts

Packing is coming along nicely. I don't really hear other people talk much about this, but I think one of the hardest parts, for me, about moving is to have everything out of place for weeks. For some reason it's stressful to not know where things are. I know, I'm crazy and you already knew that. I am really looking forward to being settled and learning our new home and town. Such an adventure!

I discovered the flickr group for vintage cookbooks. *Swoon* I could stay there all night.

My babes are so enjoying having Hannah here. They've all been helping her, even Sarah. I realize that Sarah's not a baby anymore. She's helping and talking more and more. Soon she'll be two. Now that I'm back to my pre-pregnancy size (finally), and I've been packing tiny newborn clothes, I finally have baby fever again. Elizabeth faithfully prays for a new baby boy--I mean daily--so God might answer her prayer one of these days. You never know! As for Hannah, I'm enjoying her too. It's fun to get to know each other as peers, not just big sis/baby sis (we're 13 years apart). We've taken time out each day to do something small but fun, like and at-home pedicure or going out for pizza. Nice!

Dogwood and azaleas are blooming and we've had warm and sunny weather. Nothing lifts my spirits like a sunny day.

I know I've linked to Debra a lot lately, but I can't stop reading her blog. She so speaks to where I am, or where I've come from, so often. Here's a snip from today to wrap things up:

But there's something else I'm noticing about my own self. There are times all these years later when, suddenly, I no longer feel like doing those things which I absolutely loved doing only last year. Or last month. Something--some hobby, some favorite movie genre, some specific part of my whole identity-- suddenly will feel like only a memory. A pleasant memory, but something very much removed from who I am and what I find pleasurable or fulfilling today. Whatever it may be, I find myself no longer even caring much about it at all.

But now in my late 40's I've learned not to panic when that happens (and it's happened a lot this past decade). For I've seen it's all rather like shedding of an old skin. A leaving behind of what I once was so to make room and time and energy for what I am becoming.

In other words, it's become, for me, a sign that I am growing-up.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Adventures in Moving

Boxes everywhere. Kids upset by the chaos. Needing things I've already packed. Fixing the house to sell. Exhausted. But excited and grateful--my sister's here to help, and I couldn't do it without her! And Billy had his last day at the office, so he's using these last vacation days to get ready to go. That's all folks. Good night.

Friday, March 09, 2007


Someone is coming to look at the house in 2 hours. Everything I read this morning about showing a house said to let in lots of light, and that the house should be spotless and clutter-free. One checklist said, "It should look like a house with furniture but nobody lives there." The light I can do. As for the rest...I guess I'm doomed!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Attention Spans

Although Al Mohler is on my blog roll, and I believe he's a great, godly person, I'll just be honest and say that I rarely read his blog. His posts seem to point to cultural problems, but rarely to solutions. Since my reading time is limited, I typically try to keep it uplifting. However, this morning's entry caught my eye. The attention spans of Americans are shrinking from minutes to mere seconds. Billy and I were just talking about this last night. One of the little guys in my Awana class, who is homeschooled, has study skills and concentration abilities far above the other 5-8 year olds in the group. That is something we want to work on in our children. The ability to concentrate and focus for extended periods of time is so important.


I used to dread spring, and the hot, humid summer that was sure to follow. It was my least favorite time of year.

For some reason, that's changed. I still love September through Christmas, crunching leaves, wood fires, and the holidays, but I also look forward to spring. Gardens, skirts, flip-flops, fresh vegetables, SUNSHINE. As the gray days of winter drag on, I crave springtime. It's here. I've had windows open all day to let the sunshine and fresh air in, there's a vase of lilies of the valley in my kitchen window sill, I've been able to wear my skirts, and I've been pampering my poor winter-dry feet to get them in shape for sandal-wearing (no luck so far, truth be known). I had planned to garden this year, but I guess I will have a container garden after we move. Still, I'm looking forward to it. Ahhh...I'm so happy spring has arrived!

P.S. It seems like a good thing that I love this time of year now, since our new location seems to have two seasons--spring and summer. God knew, didn't He?

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Works for Me: Teaching Kids to Cook

There's no reason even young children can't start learning to cook simple things. When I was pregnant with Sarah, and Elizabeth was 4, I taught her to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches--so that even if I was busy with the new baby, she could make lunch for her and Silas. They have little stools that enable them to get their own drinks and be independent in other ways.

Now she's six and she's learning to cook real food. The other day she made yeast rolls, with some help. Today she made banana nut muffins with my supervision. She's learning fractions, practicing her reading (I made her read the ingredient list herself, with only minor help from me), and learning how to cook all at the same time. If she does this a dozen more times she will pretty well be able to make them alone. I was able to clean the rest of the kitchen while I directed her efforts. It's really nice for us to be able to work like this as a team, even at a young age. I knew how to cook at an earlier age than most. I started really cooking when I was about 13. Now I see that I could have learned even earlier! Don't underestimate your kids--they're capable of more than you think

WFMW hosted by Shannon.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Expect Light Blogging

For at least the next month. I have a plethora of posts floating around in my head...Really should jot the ideas down so I have blog fodder when life slows down...But right now all I'm doing is getting ready to move by the end of the month. So much to do. But it will be great. Right now all extra writing time is going toward writing my grandma and all the sweet people who have done things for us as we're leaving.


Thursday, March 01, 2007

Link Love

This is me today. Heading into the 4th straight day of nonstop laundry. So in lieu of a thoughtful post, I'll share some link love.

Debra shares links to two of David Grayson's books free online! Yay! I have Adventures in Contentment (it's actually the green book pictured in this post) and love it. I look forward to reading these new ones.

Rebecca kicks off Teenstyle Tuesday. I'm really looking forward to this. Although I'm quite a distance from teenager-hood, I know it will give me great ideas for a more youthful look. I'm not so good at dressing my age...The best part is that I know Rebecca will give cool ideas for clothes that are both stylish and modest!

Speaking of modesty, find the final results of The Rebelution's modesty survey here. Interesting stuff.

Lindafay shares simple seasonal clothing lists at her blog. This is helpful for me, because I tend to keep too many clothes for my children. As we all know, too many clothes equals too much laundry! Something I don't need more of!!!!!

Check out Josh Harris's hilarious cartoons that illustrate how we feed the flesh. Very funny, but true.

Just discovered Shorpy, the 100-year-old photo blog.