Thursday, September 29, 2011

Too good

I'm an avid Avett Brothers fan. Their talent seems endless! Plus, I've discovered the world of Mumford and Sons. Oh my, I just want to bust out the fiddle and jam with people! Talent talent talent....

Here they are at the grammy's. This video is too good to not bring into the blogging world. Enjoy.

What have you read lately?

One of my favorite past times is reading.  I have about thirty blogs in my favorite folder, ranging in categories of homeschooling families, printable worksheets, food (okay, I might have a tiny bit more in my food folder than the rest of them), and even how to manage laundry.
If you were to come take a look at my bookshelf you'd see I wear my heart on my sleeve.  The vast majority of my books are book studies covering the Word of the Lord.  My Bible studies and all things breaking it down into terminology that a second grader could comprehend are on my shelf. Beth Moore, Kay Arthur, many notes from my years in Bible Study Fellowship, and numerous other authors line the shelves.  It's good to keep them around to dust off the perpetually pregnant brain of mine so I'm not walking around saying "Who was that guy in a basket?  In the weeds or grass or whatever?  No.. .it wasn't Jesus... wait, did that happen to Him?"  Oy, yes that'd be me.

Second in line are my parenting/pregnancy books.  Swooooooooon... if I could collect them all!  Currently I'm in a study where we are reading Sheparding A Child's Heart and I walk away with my head churning in excitment of a new mommy-breakthrough.  "Focus on changing your child's heart and the rest will follow" sounds simple enough, but how do I do that?  Well this book has brought the light.  Love love love it.  And my blogs and blogs and blogs about women who have had natural births, who feed their families off the grid, who love on their babies without the constant complaint about them.  Like a breath of fresh air.  Ending the day on a positive note is good for the heart.

Ahhh, loving my quiet moment of blogging and reading.  All I need is a glass of ice water and some Avett Brothers to complete the night.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Deli Lady told me to

I have become a bit more aware of what I'm feeding myself and my family.  Lately, I'm noticing that what I thought was the purest of foods has been tainted in one form or fashion.  My Great Value brand 'pure vanilla extract' listed 'corn syrup' as it's final ingredient.  What a bummer that it's so hard to find pure food with nothing more than what was grown and harvested without anything made in a lab. 

The kids and I were out and about today, nowhere near home, so I decided to get a nutritious lunch at the grocery store.  Guacamole, cheddar block cheese, 7 grain bread rolls, bananas, watermelon, water, and a deli meat.  I had purchased the Dean's brand of guacamole last month and it was so acidic it felt like I was eating Sprite, the burning feeling in your mouth after guzzling Sprite was just like a bite of Dean's guacamole.  Dad's guacamole never burned my mouth, what is in this stuff?  Let's just say 'avacado' was further down the list than I'd like to ever imagine it could be.  Disappointed and frustrated at wasting four bucks, I threw it away.  Today I purchased a guacamole that was 95% avocado and 5% seasoning.  Bingo!  All three kids ate it, score

Then I tried to purchase deli meat.  Ham was on sale for $3.99 a pound!  WOW!  When's the last time any meat was on sale for such a cheap price?  However, I had read that many meats are injected with a salt water solution and flavoring built in a lab, so I asked the lady if there was anything funky in the meat or if it was just 'honey and salt, the way our grandparents cured pork?'  Low and behold she printed off a page worth of sodium byproducts that you can't grow in granny's garden.  In the end, the honest lady said "Even I don't eat this stuff."   Somewhat dumbfounded, I ordered a half a pound of the ham, went down the aisle, had a major case of 'protein vs funky chemical salt stuff' guilt and took the ham back to the counter.  "I changed my mind.  Can I give this back?"  She took it back and smiled at me.

This morning we had plain cereal, milk, and Mandarin oranges.

Last night we had 100% beef hamburger patties, pineapple, and broccoli with some cheese.
Lunch yesterday was beef and rice burritos (except Ernest actually said 'spicy' through a grimace and had a peanut butter sandwich, bless his heart!)
Breakfast yesterday morning was, get this, oatmeal with prunes, cinnamon, honey and molasses, and milk to make it creamy, a trick Aunt Patty taught me.  The kids gobbled this down and asked for more. 

Tonight we had a quick hamburger patty with fruit and pinto bean hummus (yes, it is definitely something to try, I'm starting to believe any bean would work for hummus).  Plus I've been putting curry powder on the hamburgers.  I read somewhere that we should eat more curry because it's good for you, yada yada yada.  One step at a time and God see's I'm trying right?

And, on a side note, I've been doing some easy peasy what-are-you-80-years-old? exercises on my stability ball and Ethan and Ernest do them right alongside me on the floor.  Cute cute cute!  I feel my thighs toning up!  I just might be able to not blind anyone in a bikini next summer!    get into a one piece all black don't-even-look-my-direction bathing suit next summer!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Alison's son is sick

My friend's son is sick.  And my heart is breaking for her.  She's the one with the mild voice.  She's the one with the gentle spirit and the kind and giving heart.  I see Starbucks and think of her and her love for caffiene.  Her children are so-stinking-cute-and-sweet.  No wonder she eight of them!  She has a love for the Lord that makes Ruth Graham look like an amateur.

Man, don't you just want to look at God and say "Hey, point your lightening bolt over THAT way, those people you have it aimed at are actually pretty decent!'  Lord, I wish I knew what You were up to, what You have up Your sleeve.

Her son has brain cancer

If that weren't enough, it's a really really bad kind (because some aren't so bad? I don't know).  What person would be okay with hearing a family member has cancer?  What momma would be able to see straight and stand while learning that her oldest child has not only cancer but it's in his brain?

The few times her son, who is 17, was around my then three year old Ethan, he was incredibly patient and soft spoken with him.  Ian, who is sick, is a 'professional big brother' and I know if we lived closer I'd call him to babysit in a heartbeat!

Tonight, would you lift up Alison and her family?  Pray for her patience, wisdom, and strength through this ordeal.  She homeschools this beautiful family she is blessed with.  And her babies range in 17 with Ian, all the way down to just a few month (with the infant exclusively nursed, God bless her!).  Pray for Ian's body to heal.  For the doctors to have such wisdom it must come from Up Above.  Right now, the family and medical team are deciding on a route to go concerning Ian's treatments.  Alison is a bit holistic and trying to find treatments, foods, etc that will help and inhance Ian's ability to fight off this cancer as naturally as possible.  Pray for those little brother's and sister's to not be scared.  Can you imagine seeing your big, tough, go-get'em big brother down and out in a hospital?  Pray for these little faces to see Christ in all of this.

Here's a link to Alison's blog:
Alison's Blog 

Here's a link to a prayer site on facebook dedicated to Ian:
Pray for Ian Williams

Friday, August 12, 2011

Sweet sweet George Jones

The story behind George Jones and dad.

Have you heard the song "He Stopped Loving Her Today"?  It's about a lady who ends up leaving a man and breaking off their relationship. The song is told in 3rd person and the narrator talks about the man still having her letters and and pictures.  In the end, the narrator goes to see the man who is now 'all dressed up' and sees he is smiling for the first time in years.  Turns out, the man passed away, therefore, he stopped loving her today.  Sweetest.  Saddest. Song. Ever.

Our family thinks about dad with this song.  Granted, mom never left him, however he always said he'd love her to the end and then some.  She was a good woman to him.  Do you know of any other story where the husband was sick for 15 years and wife put her life on hold, for FIFTEEN YEARS, to take care of him?  Mom should write a book.

"He Stopped Loving Her Today", Lyrics

He said I'll love you 'til I die
She told him you'll forget in time
As the years went slowly by
She still preyed upon his mind

He kept her picture on his wall
Went half crazy now and then
He still loved her through it all
Hoping she'd come back again

Kept some letters by his bed
Dated 1962
He had underlined in red
Every single I love you

I went to see him just today
Oh but I didn't see no tears
All dressed up to go away
First time I'd seen him smile in years

He stopped loving her today
They placed a wreath upon his door
And soon they'll carry him away
He stopped loving her today

You know she came to see him one last time
Oh and we all wondered if she would
And it kept running through my mind
This time he's over her for good

(Repeat Chorus)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

What might have been

Today as I'm cleaning up pee and wiping down the floor I get a bad case of the ''what might have been's".  I have a wonderful friend who went on from high school to achieve her PhD and is now able to travel and see the world for conferences and leisure.  The sweetest, nicest, prettiest gal ever.  Another friend lives in New York and works as an achitect.  I did attend an impressive magnet high school that concentrated on science and engineering, so these results are not too uncommon.  I had plans to go on to college and major in microbiology/biochemistry.  I wanted to work for the Centers of Diesease Control in Atlanta and help save the world.  I wanted to travel to new places and live the cultures most people only read about in the paper.  Work by day saving a west Africa village from a series of outbreaks, eat monkey and watch the stars by night.  Ahhhhh.   I'd get married 'sooner or later' and maybe have a kid, maybe.  I'd never really settle down and I'd live by the ocean so I could see the waves crash every morning and call the seagulls my friends. 

This morning, as I'm wiping up pee, handing out more cereal, and making a bath for said-pee-child, I can't help but think of it all.  What would have happened if I didn't get married and decided to go on to college?  Would I have ever stepped foot in Minnesota in my life?  To me, Minnesota had lots of trees and guys that wear plaid.  It turns out this is true on both parts, go me!  But to live here?  In -20 windchills?  No thanks.  I'm a Atlantic Ocean lover. 

Now I'm raising three kids and married to my very own Paul Bunnion (or however you spell his last name... maybe I should say the Bounty Man). 

Proverbs 14:30 (K
A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones

Ok, fine.  I'm just having a 'true' moment.  It's true though, I do sometimes wonder.

But as I'm typing this, my 2 year old now has a towel wrapped around his clean pee-free body and has just said "Up please!" so he's sitting in my lap singing.  Sorry Africa, you gotta wait.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Until we meet again Thomas

My youth pastor committed suicide.

Let it sink in.


He was my youth pastor in junior high, then an intern came in and took over and they Young's left shortly after.  At least this is how I remember it, but I could have some dates/times a bit cloudy.  We were all so happy for Thomas Young and his family.  They were the nicest, sweetest, people I'd ever met at a church and I remember Erin had really long hair and was soft spoken.  I also remember thinking that 'church people' at this church were really nice and I wanted to come back.  The Young's were the first Christian couple I'd ever witnessed as putting the words "Christian" and "couple" to.  So this is what Christian marriages look like.  Hmmm... 

Thomas (and I still refer to him as Thomas because that's what I knew him by) was so loud and outspoken.  He would get loud and excited on Wednesday night's youth group and was totally on fire for God.  This guy, was, like, super duper Godly.  Those are technical junior high words for you.

I contribute a majority of my 'baby Christian' days to the initial 'church people' I knew.  I only knew VBS people, then I knew the Young's, then I started coming on Sunday mornings.  From there, I grew in my walk with Christ exponentially and I sought the wisdom of my teachers.  Basically, forget the kids, I want to hang out with these grown ups because they seem to have it together. (Ps: my high school Sunday school teacher reads my blog) :).

I remember when the Young's left I totally had a wall built up to 'the new guy'.  He was a total dude and was single.  Bor-ing. 

About three years ago I tried to look up the Young family and sent his ministry an email saying thank you for being such an amazing role model and I look forward to seeing them again if our lives should ever cross paths.  I never did receive a reply or acknowledgement that it was forwarded onto Thomas.

Recently, when Kendall and I moved our family to Texas last winter I met up with people from way back and asked about the Young's.  It was a somber moment and I later read an article about it on Thomas' website.

But, I thought Christian's don't take their own lives.  Isn't that a huge sin (a sin is a sin, is a sin, no worse than stealing a ballpoint pen)?  I've heard suicide means you go straight to hell (not true).

I think my dear friend, after losing her brother, says it so well:
The devil is such a thief.

I think about his wife and children from time to time, such at moments like these.  All things work for the glory of God, right?  Man oh man it's a hard one to swallow sometimes.  My heart breaks for them. 

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Where the sky turns green

I am still trying to understand Minnesota's weather.  And not in the "Haha, so am I!  And I'm from Minnesota!" kind of way.  In Texas, I knew it would be storming when it was extra smoldering hot the day before.  Then a release-type feeling would come in the air and the next day it'd be cooler and raining.  The nights were cool and humid every night without fail.  The Easter lilies would bloom right at Easter every year, it wasn't hit or miss.  The pecan trees will grow baby pecans at the same time every year and you could tell if we had a good rain or not by the amount of fruit the tree put on.

Things were the same.  Dependable.  Unusual weather wasn't common, the weather was steady.

In Minnesota, the sky turns green when it's hot.  I cannot make this up folks.

I was coming home from an evening MOPS meeting and when I steped out of church, the sky was warm in the lower 80's (wow, I can't believe I said the 80's were warm) and the wind had died down to a slight breeze.  Up in the skys, the clouds were rolling in and there was thunder and lightening in every direction.

The sky was greenish, like this picture.  Where I come from, the sky doesn't turn no stinkin' green.

To the north, the sky was three shades lighter than black.  To the south, a light gray cloud waltzed on by, oblivious it's cousin's Vinny and Micheal were making heads roll in the next town over.

I floored all six cylinders of my bad boy Town and Country and headed over to Kim's house.  We were planning on having a garage sale bright and early the next morning, several piles of our beloved junk was sitting outside.  I rang her bell and said "The sky is scary looking, what does that mean (pointing to the north)?  Come on, you're from Iowa.  That's, like, south Minnesota right?"  Anyway, we brought our junk in for fear it would litter the streets and get completely ruined thus taking away it's fifty-cent value. 

Driving the four blocks home from her house I saw many men standing outside looking up at the sky, several were pointing.  Geez, that can't be good.

"Kendall!  It's hot outside, but the wind has died down, but the clouds are moving super fast, but I think they're kinda low, but some of the clouds are gray, but those over there are black, but look the sky is blue over there, have you looked at the radar?  Is there are red line near us?  Or is it white?  Wait, what color means snow and which means rain?  Or does red mean snow in winter and rain in summer?  BUT IT SNOWS IN THE SUMMER HERE!"

"Near panic" is an understatment.

My sweet heroic husband stared blankly back at me and replied, "Whoa.  You are talking way too fast."  He was being way too mellow.  The clouds look like they have the flu and he's calmly watching Breakfast at Tiffany's downstairs. 

He meanders outside and says "Oh yeah, looks pretty bad.  Hmm, well, if a tornado's coming I want to be able to see where it's coming from." Just then the tornado alarms go off and I about pass out. 

"All the men I drove by were pointing to the sky in the north.  The north.  So, I say we listen to them and go in the bathroom and make sure the kids have shoes on."

Ok folks.  Here we go.  This is what Crystal crams into our 6x4 bathroom when there's a storm brewing:

two mega flashlights
size 5 diapers
size 2 diapers
two sippy cups (Ethan and Ernest sized)
a box of cheerios
one pair of close toes shoes for each kid
our safe
my purse
a gallon of water
a juice container (whatever's in the fridge)
every comforter not currently being used (I invision falling debris)
socks for everyone
car keys
extra clothes (usually just the diaper bag will do for the diapers, wipes, clothes, baby stuff)

Kendall could barely go in the bathroom to see what I had crammed in there.

Here's my thought- if our house gets blown away, I have three small children who are going to have specific needs immediately.  Having your house blown away doesn't keep Eleanor from filling her diaper or Ernest from being thirsty.  I bring socks and shoes in there because I have noticed the ickiest (is that word?) weather happens in the evening when my kids are in bed.  Footie pajamas won't work on glass, so everyone gets proper footwear.  My most important information is in my purse/diaper bag along wiht my car keys. 

Oh, and when I just had Ethan and Kendall was at work, I'll admit I put the toddler mattress in our old apartments bathroom.  We were on the second floor!  It seemed reasonable at the time.

The storm did eventually pass over us.  And the apple juice did make it back into the fridge.  Kendall chuckled at me and said he'd never think of any of those supplies.  Three small children.  Three!  I need to be prepared.  And after seeing what tornadoes have done in the south, I'm not taking any chances. 

Our family is still praying for the Lee family after losing their husband/dad in the Alabama tornado.  And our Generation Cedar family. 

I pray the sky doesn't turn green again for a long long time.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Strong Stock

A complete stranger referenced to me by a cattle term.  It's as simple as that.

Ernest was ten days old and our sweet little family of four decided to go on a walk.  A new neighbor in our area was outside taking care of the lawn and started up a conversation with Kendall.  I remember the lawn had tremendous potential but had been denied any love due to the property being in foreclosure.  It was a gorgeous June evening, warm and just right for being outside.

The man then noticed that Ernest wasn't just an infant but a brand spankin' new newborn to the world.

"Oh, you have quite the little one there.  How old?"

"He's ten days today!"
He looks at Ernest, looks up at me in bewilderment, then looks over at Kendall.

"Strong stock."

These are the words he says while nodding his head in my direction.

Can I just say it is the only time a reference to cattle can be made in which I'll take it as a compliment?

Between the three kids, I've not had a real problem bouncing back.  Being able to birth these babies without any type of medical intervention is gift from God. 

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Very Blessed Garage Sale Ladies

Audra is having her first ever garage sale this week and invited us to partake in the garage sale festivities.  Ever the garage sale-oholics, we said yes and stopped on by. She lives off of a particularly busy road connecting many teeny tiny backwoods communities.  On our way to her home I counted four sales, tis the season for many yard sales!

Kendall has not been called in to work lately because both the distyllery and the plastics factory have been slow, so he was our "muscles" for all of the heavier items.  Let's face it, it's nice to play the part of a girl and let the man carry the heaviest tote of garage sale junk.

On our way out to Audra's today we stopped at a few sales to see if there was any 'meat left on the bones' of their junk.  By Friday afternoon, the people who want to be done say "make me an offer" and you can get the best of deals.  Since it's the eve of Memorial weekend we figured there had to be someone who was going to be traveling this weekend and wanted to be done with their sale, so sure enough we found a great sale along the busiest road in town!

Three sweet women and their elderly mother were clearing out the house of priceless momentos because the mother's house was for sale.  I stayed in the car with the kids while Kendall jumped out to see what was new.  Ethan and I took the quiet time together while the two little ones napped to do some school work out of a workbook while daddy did the diggin'.  After a few minutes, Kendall waved me over to come in the garage.  Sounded like he scored a big one so I hussled in on the double.  Sure enough, the ladies said everything was half priced (their prices were fifty cents to two dollars to begin with so half of it was almost in the free-zone!).  Kendall was able to pick up some Tupperware containers (because our plastics from the dollar store are sorely missing lids and most are so warped they don't stay locked), a fan ("It's hardly been used!  FOR A DOLLAR!" he was really excited), and some other items for around the house. 

I eyed the vintage (aka: things that were around when I was a kid) toys and picked up a Vikings helmet with a twenty-five cent sticker on it.  I do my kids birthday present shopping at garage sales.  It's how this family rolls.  Ernest's 2nd birthday is next month, so I was thinking of gifts for him.  One of the ladies asked if I work outside of the home and I said no, day care would cost more than what Kendall and I could bring home, plus I want to raise my kids myself.  She then asked where Kendall worked, well that opened a can of worms!  "Kendall, where do you work?"  I let her know he went to school to be an electrician but for know he works at the two factories in town when they need him. 

Next comes my favorite question: "How do you do it?"

I smile when asked this question simply because I can share my faith with others.   What a great opportunity to tell others of God's provisions!  How do we do it?  We don't, GOD DOES!  We're just along for the ride! 

I do, however, believe that the biggest learning tool has been contention.  Be content!  I've learned to discipline myself mentally and rework out the kinks in my upbringing and worldly ways.  The word "no" is a great tool for grownups as wells as children.  NO you don't need bigger and better.  NO your shoes are just fine stop comparing yourself to others!  NO our family car is paid off, be content! 

Seriously, how do I do it?  I enjoy it.  These children won't be children forever, Eleanor is already feeding herself!  Wasn't I just feeling her kicks and leaps in the womb just last month?  Ethan is learning simple addition, wasn't I rocking him to sleep in the recliner while reading "Brown Bear Brown Bear" just last summer? And I can't believe Ernest will be two soon, I remember walking around Joann fabrics trying to 'walk the baby out' while walking up and down every aisle at 41 weeks.

My husband is my truest friend.  Shouldn't I enjoy his company while the Lord allows me to?  I love this man, I want my focus to be towards him and enriching our marriage.  Too many times negativity and doubt wants to fill my brain on what tomorrow brings but nobody is garunteed tomorrow.  Today is the present.  If I can be in his presence, then I'm going to enjoy it!  Soak it up while it lasts! 

In a nutshell:

Since my husband's been layed off we've paid off our minivan, traveled to Texas and back, birthed two babies, and cut over half of our debt.  God is good and has never left us without the most basic of necessities.  My children see that garage sales and thrift stores have treasures waiting to be found and are content with what we bring home to them.  They appreciate the smallest toys and broken guns because it doesn't need to work in order for it to be an amazing laser gun in their imaginations.  Our family lives in a one bedroom apartment and we would like to some day own property, but it's all in God's timing.  I feel that living in such close quarters has brought my children closer together friendship wise because there aren't too many places to go with an enemy in the house, so you better get along

Our life isn't ideal, but by golly it's good.  Living simple means we are able to simply live and enjoy life!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Not tired

Go.  To.  Bed!

This is the apparent party going on in the toddler bed.  I hear the sounds of a motorcycle, a cow mooing, and someone (presumable Ernest) humming the ABC Song.

Good night.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Joyful praises on a park swing

He will once again fill your mouth with laughter and your lips
with shouts of joy.

Job 8:21

Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again--rejoice!

Phililppians 4:4

Let the fields and their crops burst out with joy! Let the
trees of the forest rustle with praise

Psalm 96:12

Shout to the LORD, all the earth; break out in praise and
sing for joy!

Psalm 98:4

Let the godly sing for joy to the LORD; it is fitting for the
pure to praise him.

Psalm 33:1

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Fuzzodles Party

Did I even spell that correctly?  Fuzzoodles?  Fuzzodles?  What?

I didn't understand how Fuzzoodles were a new concept.  To me, they were big fuzzy pipe cleaners.  The kind you can buy 20 for about three bucks, but fuzzier.

  The little girls had fun with the extras that came with the kit like the purses, shoes, and eyes.

 And the mom's had fun playing like kids.   

I'll call them... cute.

This scene of Ethan playing with them lasted for about seven minutes.  Then he was begging me to run around and play.  I'm pretty sure that if we were at home without all the friends and commotion, he would have lasted about twelve minutes.

Then the fuzzoodles would have become laser guided bullets followed by the words "POW!!!!".

They're so soft.

Food!  Look at those hungry little boys who needed to recharge their batteries.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Adult Temper Tantrums- I want cupcake sprinkles.

How do adults show they are having a temper tantrum? 

Some people shut down, either internally shown by not speaking or showing emotionally.  Some shut down physically by quietly resorting to their homes and sitting in a dark room wearing the same sweatpants until even the dog won't sniff them.  Many men throw their emotions deeper into their work, striving to be a "better provider" by working harder, faster, stronger by focusing on the task at hand.  However, some men go to the bar or their buddies garage for a beer after dinner.

Ladies exercise their temper tantrums in either a constructive or destructive way.  Constructive as in "I WILL HAVE A PERFECT HOME TODAY" and ignore all else until their floors sparkle and the drapes are vacuumed.  Destructive would be "I'm worth these $80 shoes even though my cell phone is about to be shut off and my credit card bill is past due."

My temper tantrums range in motion and season.  Mostly, I start projects.  I will not fix dinner until my hall closet makes any organized professional glean with jealousy.  I go through every box and bag making sure all of the extra toothbrushes are in the correct ziploc bag and my soap bars and perfectly stacked.  Wait.  I'm not the only one who stocks up on toothbrushes when they go on sale, right?   I scrub down my dining room table and chairs with hot water, soap, degreaser, and an SOS pad.  One time I got a blister from scrubbing so hard.  I'm a freak about clean floors, so getting on my hands and knees all Cinderella style doesn't constitute any sort of meltdown, it's just Crystal being Crystal.

Today, however, was a crying day.  I'm tired.  This season in life is hard.  I don't want to sound all complainy but by golly, not every day is puppy tails and cupcake sprinkles.  I'm in a bit of survival mode.  The idea of adding on anything more than what I have now is a scary thought to me.  I run from commitment.  Run far far away.  I do not want to be in charge of or accountable to anything other than the day right infront of me.  And I prioritize like crazy.

My priorities:
Protein for breakfast.  Aka: my kids are getting sick of eggs.  Smoothies are helpful.  And nice fattening tablespoons of peanut butter on toast is helpful as well.  My kids last longer if they get a big healthy dose of protien in them first thing in the morning.  Full fat milk is more filling as well. 

God.  We read and memorize scripture every. single. day.  I have note cards taped all over my dining room walls with "happy" scripture like "He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7".  Secretly, this momma needs to hear it more than the kiddos.  Right now I lean heavily on "Believe on the Lord Jesus Crhsit and you will be saved. Act 16:31". 

Dear Lord, I am a dead weight on You right now.  Therefore, I could use some savin' right about now.  P.S. Thank you for the hidden chocolate chips in the back of the cabinet.  I know You got my back.  It's our secret.  Amen.

Quiet Time- Dear dear small children.  Please understand that we have quiet time not only for you to rest your toes, elbows, and lips but because it's only 1:30 and mommy needs Tylenol.  So let's play the quiet game so we can tell God thank you for all the nice things we can think of while momma lays down on the couch so she can catch her breath and make it to bed time.  Amen.

I'm sure any other woman would say "Uh, what about laundry and dishes?  PRIORITIES!"  Yes, I bounce back and forth between the two all. day. long.  I get frusterated with washing the "super cool cup with the sparkles and dolphins" for the THIRD time that day, so I go pair up socks.  Then my socks get to the point where they are missing their mate but I refuse to throw the lone sock away because I know I will find it's missing friend the next laundry go-around and will throw my hands up and say "I knew I'd find this stupid sock!  Where were you last week?  Your brother was looking for you!" and go back to washing milk chunks out of the sippy cup that was pushed under the bed so far it was nearly against the wall (and how does it get there?!?).

I just needed a nap.  Some help.  A little support.  I needed a wise old owl to say "You're doing the best that you can.  Your children will not grow up to be horrible people because you had cold cereal for dinner again."

It's just a season.  Everything is just a season.  None of this will be forever.  Forever, is actually the reward.  I'm so glad I know Christ.  So so so so glad.  I'm so glad that I can keep my senses and realize that the baby will not be nursing for forever, that Ernest will learn how to put on a zip up his own coat, and that Ethan will use his strong sense of will power for the greater good. 

And I know that tomorrow they will wake up smiling at me and say "Hi mom!  I'm hungry."

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Precious in His sight

Ernest walked up to Kendall's step dad, laid his head on his leg, and stood there in 'hug position' for a solid five minutes.   His step dad had recieved a lung transplant February of 2010 and when this picture was taken, he was having a hard time breathing.

How do children know these things?  It brings tears to my eyes the thought of such grace, mercy, and unconditional love that children posess.  Why can't grown ups be as merciful?  Or merrily kind enough to put a hand on one's shoulder when in need?  What happens between toddler and adult?

Every day, my kids wake up with smiles.  They look to me like I'm God right hand man.  Most nights I go to bed thinking of what I did wrong, what I could do better, or how I can fix things in the morning (parenting and life alike).

Lord, help me to show Your unrelenting love to others.  The kind that can only come from You.

Monday, April 11, 2011

I needed to rest my eyes

All I wanted to do was rest my eyes for ten minutes.  The baby was asleep, Kendall was home and could keep an eye on the boys, it was the weekend, doesn't everyone want to relax on the weekend?

Mom lays down on the couch and look at what happens.

A dog pile occurs on my face.

Ernest is wearing a winter coat and a diaper with nothing else.  And now he is sitting on my face along with Ethan yelling "Let's get mom!"

Thank you Kendall for reaching for the camera instead of saying "Come on kids, let's give mom some quiet time on the couch."  Thanks.
Why are my kids so slobbery?  They should come with a paper towel dispenser attatched to them somewhere.  Ernest clearly has no idea how much he weighs. I'm simply trying to be sure the kid doesn't roll off and put another goose egg on his forehead.

For Pete's sake. This is just ridiculous.

My best picture ever.  I got up and hid in the bedroom after this picture.

Just like children, grown ups need 'quiet time' every so often too!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Eleanor's First Oatmeal, Round #1

Every time I put a fork to my mouth, a set of (nearly) six month old eyes watches, intent on burning a hole through my forhead in hopes of having a bite.  This baby wants oh-so-badly to try some new tastes on her palet.  However, by the looks of these pictures, maybe she isn't so sure.

Here we go, she was fired up and ready for action.

First taste-

Second try-

I think this look says it all.
"Mom, let's just stick with the good stuff, mmkay?"

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Enough animal crackers to feed an army.

We have an absurdly large canister of animal crackers in the back of the minivan.  To say it is a life saver, is an understatment.

There is no top left on the bad boy due to being used so much.

This absurdly large canister of animal crackers comes in most handy when we are at Walmart way too long, everyone is having a blood sugar crash, and we're still twenty minutes from home not to mention I will still need to put the frozen chicken in the freezer, where's the milk? and ohdearLord could the macaroni and cheese boil any slower. 
Just eat some animal crackers and to hold you over.

With that explaination said, onward!

The following are pictures of Ethan in the 'way back' of the minivan.  Ernest and Eleanor get the captains seats.  The bench in the back is free game for Ethan and all of his 'can I bring this into the minivan' modgpodge of stuff found back there.

Hey Ethan!  What?  What!  WHAT!?!

Mom, I'm hungry, and tired.  The animal crackers aren't cutting it. 
 Are there any more juice boxes?

We're getting pizza?  Woo hoo, I'm in a much better mood!

Goof to the left.

Goof to the right.

Oh sweet deary, I love this child.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Ernest in the winter

When Ethan was a baby, I took him to Walmart in a diaper and a blanket.  I was a little embarassed that I had him dressed so inappropriately, so I put a hat on him.  True story folks.
Now, it takes me forty minutes to get the kids fed and out the door if: nobody takes a bath or shower,  I eat standing up, and Eleanor isn't hungry. Sigh. 

This is a picture of Ernest at Sam's Club.

You are one cute kid in that little hat of yours.
He is also wearing: a onesie, a long sleeved shirt, thick socks, winter coat on the side, and a one piece fleece outfit. 

And by golly, Sam's Club shopping carts ROCK!  Two kids in the front, come on

This is the set up for "going outside to play". 
The ensemble includes: onesie, thick socks, sweatshirt, pants, fleece hooded one piece outfit, coat, mittens, and the tail end of mom's sanity.

Plus a diaper change.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Why yes I've been to Africa

The year: 2004.  I was living in eastern Washington off the Puget Sound (like, in the movie Twilight?  Yes.)  I had a friend who wanted to stop by Applebee's and wish some dude happy birthday.  We get there and there's a long table of guys hanging out for said dude's birthday.  I make my way to the end, where there was one seat left.  I don't remember what we were talking about before, but this big guy named Ken mentions he's going to Africa on a missions trip.  His comment caught my attention.  Africa?  I've always wanted to go there.  There's just something about it.  If you know what I mean, then you know what I mean.  His group was still forming and he said "You should come to one of our meetings and check it out." Instantly, I remember thinking "I'm going to Africa."

Months go by and we are doing fundraiser after fundraiser.  Sending out letters for donations.  Getting word out that we were needing help getting there.  Funny thing is, I remember going to these missions meetings hungover.  Talk about a double. faced. life.

No joke.

There were many ducks we had to get into a row before we could even leave the country.  Passports, paperwork, proof of this that and the next.  And many immunizations.

My story about the immunizations:  I needed a typhoid fever vaccine.  At that time, they were only available for one hour on Wednesday mornings.  I waited until the last Wednesday before we left to get it.  I needed a TB vaccine.  They stick a needle in you and make a bump.  Come back in three days and if they bump is gone, you pass!  I had to take it twice because I forgot to go in to have the bump checked.  Let's just say, the devil (lower cased on purpose thankyouverymuch) didn't want me on that plane.  The blessing in it was, however, all of my immunizations were covered by my insurance.  Wow.

I eventually get my act together and make it to Africa.  It was completely life changing not only because "Oh wow, I've been to Africa and it so National Geographic" but because serving others changes a person.  It's Africa, they wear flattened coke bottles with strings on their feet as flip-flops!

Enough of the hardcoreness (yes, it's a word), on with the cool pictures!

Bush pig hunt! 

 Some hunters went and shot a wild pig out in the middle of nowhere (as in, walked through a desert, a swamp with snakes, and a jungle to get to a wild pig that made Pumba look like a poodle) and I got to carry the gun and pick flowers.  I'd never even touched a gun before until this moment.  Was the safety on?  Was it loaded?  I have no idea.  If it works for them, it works for me.  Crazy!


This little guy tastes like chicken.  They tied his tail around his neck then carried him on the back of a motorbike to get him to us.  Chicken, people!  Monkey tastes like chicken!

Our empty truck that we filled with fence posts. 

Our filled truck.  To the right, you can see the pile of fence posts we left behind after the truck was full.

Digging Fences
One of our jobs was to dig holes to put up a fence.  Here's how it's done:
1. It's a two man job. 
2. "Lucky" gets to use a pick to dig up the dirt. 
3.  "Fool" lays on the ground and digs out said dirt using bare hands. 
4. Communication is key.
5.You and your partner take turns being Lucky and Fool. 

Once, when I was just about to put my hands down in the dirt, a village girl pulled my hand back and said something in a panicky voice.  No bueno, ese.  Whatever homegirl takes seriously, I most definitely will too.  Turns out it was a centipede that proved to contain a nasty toxic bite.
Where's the Orkin man when you need him?

In the end, we were able to put up hundreds of fence posts and complete the project. 

Crystal's Baptism:
On our way to Africa, I told Ken I wanted to be Baptized sometime in the future.  Maybe when we get back, or the next time our Pastor does a baptism.  Ken said "Well, why not just get baptized in Africa?  There's a river." (Upstream, there were piranhas.  We are, thank the LORD, not upstream enough from the ocean and the water was too salty for them).

I had been baptized before when I was kid and received Christ into my heart and dedicated my life to the Lord.  Since that moment I've rededicated my life about five or six times since!  I'm glad this past time stuck.  However, I wanted to tell the world "Hey! I'm a new creation!  Out with the old in with the new!"

Freshly dunked. 

See the smile?  I was so happy.  That's the smile of gal who is washed clean.  Almost like you just took a bath in Scope and you have that ahhhhhhhh feeling all over.

Reading the Bible to a village boy.  He didn't speak English.

I had never understood what the big deal was with communion.  What's with Jesus' last supper that we have redo it one Sunday a month? And why didn't Jesus have shrimp alfredo and Oriental Chicken Salad instead of a stale saltine and some watered down box wine?  Or at least some chocolate?

Lord, how I appreciate communion now.  Sacred is the tip of the iceberg. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


I am up to five vitamins per day.  FIVE.  I had to do some research on vitamins because while, yes, it is wise to ingest vitamins, I'm also supporting a whole other form of life (ie: Eleanor) so I had to double check if I needed to up or down my doses.  That said, this is what I'm taking for a "lactating female ages 18-50".  Got it? Here we go.

D3- 400IU from my prenatal, 1000IU from a softgel.  My prefrence is a softgel form because I feel like they break down easier in the stomach and more of that vitamin goodness is absorbed instead of ending up in the sewer.  I recently read that if pregnant or lactating, 4000IU should be taken.  Hopefully I'm getting the rest in the form of food.  And sun.  I'm pretty pasty this time of year, so maybe not the sun.

Fennel- simply put, it's good for Eleanor's belly and keeps her from getting gassy.  I am not willing to go a day off of it to test to see if it's working or not.  All I know is, she isn't gassy.  Sold!

Fish Oil- My mom is borderline diabetic, on cholesterol and blood pressure meds. People in my family have had strokes.  I like red meat.  Houston we have a problem.  Fish oil to the rescue!  Doododoodoooo!!!!  300mg per day of DHA is what I'm rooting for, not necessarily Omega-3 fatty acids.  There is a difference but it involves a lot of big words and it's past my bedtime so I'm not going there. My prenatal vitamin has scored a zero in the DHA section, so I take 300mg in a softgel form.  If you are burping tuna after taking fish oil, store your bottle in the freezer and take the pills frozen.  Wha-bam, no more fish breath.

B12- Don't take your B12 with an antacid (Tums, Mylanta, etc) because it will inhibit it's absorption!  Also, put the pill UNDER YOUR TONGUE before swallowing! My mom mentioned my aunt takes B12 "for energy".  If all I need to do is take a simple $4/bottle pill for some added oomph to my day, sign me up.  Sure enough, signs of a B12 deficency are memory loss, fatigue, and depression.  These are also the signs of an overworked underpaid mother of three young children.  I started taking B12 just in the last week and haven't noticed any amazing differences in my energy levels but only time will tell.  One pill = 500mg and the bottle recommends taking one to three a day.  I'm just getting started so one a day is good enough for me.

Prenatal- generic and boring.  I'd love to try Supermom vitamins but they are a bit out of my $4/bottle budget. 

One last thing, I have a sneaking suspesion that my thyroid has gone caput.

Low thyroid levels (hypothyroid)

Moms who are hypothyroid have low thyroid hormone levels and elevated TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) levels. Symptoms include cold intolerance, weight gain, dry skin, thinning hair, poor appetite, fatigue, depression and reduced milk supply.

This was a simple copy and paste from the website KellyMom

Here is my hypothyroid reasoning

*Kendall is tired finding my hair all over the place, but it could be stress and post baby hormones. 

*I'm cold but, hello, I live in Minnesota. 

*My scale is my enemy. 

*I'm going through moisturizer like nuts but I also have the heat running. 

*I'm tired but I have three small children.

*One of the reasons I quit nursing Ernest was my milk was dwindling, although I was also pregnant with Eleanor at the same time. (Tandem nursers, unite!)

Let's see what happens, let the adventure continue!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

My husband's driving standards

We have a new roundabout in town.  From what I've heard, nobody in our quaint little town was very excited for this new feature to our infrastructure, but it came in with a bang.  Kendall says roundabouts are mostly used in Europe but I wonder if he gets that European Vacation.

A few weeks ago, on our way to my sister-in-law's house, we were able to try out the new roundabout.  The one we spent all summer watch being constructed.  Ethan was excited and apparently so was Kendall.  We enter the ring of fire and Kendall layed. on. the. horn.  Like, one big honk the whole time we were in it. 

me: What are you doing!  You're going to get us in trouble!  What if a cop sees us?  This is so embarassing.

Kendall: What?  I want be sure people see us.  They don't all know to yield.

Ethan was in the back laughing the whole time, and Kendall had a big stinkin' grin on his face.

A few days later we went through three of those bad boys in place at a nearby Walmart, and once again, Kendall layed. on. the. horn.

me:KENDALL!  This is so embarassing!  We're going to get in trouble!

Kendall: People need to be sure and see me.  Plus we have the rightaway.  It's a matter of safety.

Are all men like this?  The whole time he's honking the horn and has a big grin while I'm sinking lower into my seat.  We were all laughing, especially the boys.  Ernest even said "Weeeeeee!"
Today's fiasco-
It's a Sunday and we needed to go to the ATM while in the 'big town'.  Our driver's side window has a broken motor and needs some repair, so we don't use it.  As a matter of fact, right now there is tape on it holding it up.  We keep it classy.

Instead of driving up to the drive through, opening in the door to use the ATM, then carrying on our merry way, what does he do?  HE TURNS AROUND IN THE DRIVE THROUGH AND BACKS UP TO THE ATM.

I cannot make this stuff up folks.

me: You're going to get us arrested!  Isn't this illegal?  Why can't you be normal!  YOU ARE GOING TO HIT THE WALL!!!!!!!!

Kendall: Pipe down woman, I've backed bigger trucks up into smaller spaces.

Then, he rolls down my window from his side, asks for a $20, pulls forward to turn around then we drive off.

Once again, that mischeveous stinkin' grin on his face.

Watch out for the minivan with the 'Don't Mess With Texas' bumper sticker on it.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Three in diapers

When Ethan was a toddler I was the mom who would look at the mom's with three or *gasp* four children and say "I could never do that." "How do you handle all three of them at the grocery store?" "How do you have room for them?" "I would have to have at least four years between kids if I ever even think about having another child."

All the while God is rolling on the floor laughing His butt off at this chick who thinks she's in charge.  Clearly, homeboy upstairs has a different plan.

At night, we have three in diapers.  Good-nites if you want a more technical term.  But three.  Three.

That chick who was uncertain on having even two children total has three in underwear that go in the garbage the next day. 

I cannot believe it.

A four year old who will be five in May
A twenty month old who will be two in June.
And an almost five month old who will be one in October.

There's a miscarriage in there as well, so we'd have a four, two, one, and a newborn.

This is why my kids go to bed so early.  This is also the reason I have cut out all evening commitments during this season in my life.  I'm an early bird who's brain ceases to work past eight at night.  That said, my children are in bed by seven.  Yeah, you heard me, seven.  Sometimes earlier and maybe Ethan can stay up later.  Maybe.  I'm tired.  I give give give all day long, and I'm tired.  I'm not complaining, but I do want to relay the message that it does take a toll on a woman's brain capacity.

Sorry if you didn't get a birthday card or if the Christmas cards I sent out were from 2009 and Ethan's a toddler in the picture.  Whatever.  Be glad you get what you get.  I'm going to bed.

*Note: while typing this, Ethan stuck his head out of of the bedroom door and said "Mom, just to let you know, I'm taking care of Eleanor."  He's probably saying shshshshsh to her and bouncing her in her bouncy chair.  God bless that boy.
Ernest and I January 2010, my Texas homestead

Thursday, March 10, 2011

SassyFrazz Giveaway- VeggieTales DVD for Easter!

VeggieTales is one of the small amount of movies/shows I'll let Ethan watch.  It has harmless vegetables and wonderful moral stories.  321 Penguins is actually our families favorite cartoon.  They are all under the "Big Idea" productions umbrella.

My friend Sarah over at SassyFrazz is giving away Big Idea's newest dvd.  Enter to win it! 

Frozen Falls before and after

Audra has some sort of program on her computer called "lightroom".  If I were super cool and tech savy I would know what she is talking about.  Either way, here are the pictures.

Minnehaha Falls- BEFORE

Minnehaha Falls- AFTER

I want to go put on an extra pair of socks when looking at these pictures.  Brrrr

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Frozen Minnehaha Falls

"Mom, are we on the blue line?" This is the all important question coming from the backseat four year old copilot.  Whenever we travel anywhere beyond Walmart, Ethan gets his very own printed out map from mapquest showing we are 'a' and we are traveling to 'b'.  That way I can reply with "No, we are still moving down the paper".

On our way to see Disney on Ice, we decided that we'd make a day trip of it and see Minnehaha Falls frozen over.  The temperatures that day were in the low 30's so it wasn't too cold out for a brisk walk.  The steps leading down to the falls were gated off because nobody wants to shovel five stories of steps for the tourists these days.  It was fine because I had Eleanor in my Sleepy Wrap under my coat with two little boys itching to make a run for it after the hour and a half drive down to the falls.

I am a 'falls' lover.  If you ever see a minivan half on the road half in the ditch with some crazy lady taking pictures of water trickling out of the sides of a mountain with a almost crazed look in her eye, that would be me.

Hey, at least I'm willing to admit it.

Let's start with Cheeks McGoo over here. 
Here is a picture of her in post-milk coma. 
She is wearing: a onesie, fleece pants, fleece shirt, fleece coat, alpaca wool shoes, and a hat.  After being bundled and snuggled to me, we kept each other mighty warm.

Brotherly love.  Ethan is instructed to hold Ernest's hand whenever we are a.) in a parking lot or b.) walking on ice and mom's hands are full.  That day we did both and they both saved each other from slipping. 
 Win win baby.

On the other side of this wall there is a mega drop because the river runs underneath this bridge
(aka: "inquisitive slippery toddler death pit").
  "Hold on to him!"

The guys. 
 The boys doesn't stick around me too much whenever dad's around.  That's okay, us girls like to have our own time together thankyouverymuch.

The falls are beside Ethan's head.  There is a mega drop beyond that fence.

See my red glove holding Ernest's head.  If I can't look directly at him, I'm going to hold him by the head to make sure he doesn't try to go all Houdini on me.  (Note: I still can't believe I have three kids.  Wow.)

Throwing snowballs over the sides.  Those rocks are great barriers if there is no snow for anyone to step up that brings them up to if not higher than the top of them.

Minnehaha Falls in early March. 

Isn't it gorgeous?  The puffy part is the actual falls.  The icicles are just leftovers that froze.  I'm sure there's a super cool technical term for it but I'm not thoroughly educated in the field of "frozen water fall".  Give me a few more winters out here and I'm sure I'll have a masters in it.