I am wife to a magnificent man and mother to five wonderful children. Three of my children were born in the Northwest and two were born thousands of miles away in Liberia, West Africa. Birthplace is no matter, all of my children were born in my heart. This is our journey.

Saturday, May 31, 2008


Have you ever played Sardines? Or rather have you ever watched 9 kids ages 3-10 play Sardines? We had some friends over and my husband got the kids playing this game. If you have never played then you are in for a treat. It's hide and seek backwards..sort of. In Sardines everyone counts except the hider. The hider runs and hides while everyone counts. When the counters are finished they run off to find said hider. When a counter finds a hider he/she hides with the hider. As everyone finds the original hider they all hide together until there is one person left and he/she becomes the new hider. Clear as mud?

You haven't really lived until you have seen 9 kids try to fit into a doghouse. Thus the name Sardines. I think they may have gotten to the fourth person when they decided it wasn't going to happen.

Top the game off with the rest of the evening by the fire in the backyard and you have a recipe for a great time.

I hope you are enjoying the beginning of your summer. We are.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Tomatoes oh sweet tomatoes...

I love tomatoes. I really do. Better than icecream. There is nothing like a warm fresh off the vine tomato on a cool summer evening. We live in the Northwest and this time of year it is still a bit chilly at night for warm weather loving tomatoes. We got this idea from my sister-in-law last year and it works so well. We first lay down black plastic. Then we place the tomatoes where we want them to be planted. Don't pay any attention to that one laying on the ground on the left. It was so excited today was planting day that it was practically throwing itself in the hole (ok really we were gone for a few days and it needed water).

We plant several varieties including Romas and Beef Steaks as well as some other unique ones for interest. Also all sizes as you can see.

Then my talented hubby uses a knife to cut X's in the plastic for each plant. This may seem like a lot of work but before we started doing this our tomatoes would just sit and not do much for the first month due to the temperature. The black plastic keeps the soil warmer and helps with weed control.

The next step is caging and laying the soaker hose. Tomatoes don't like their leaves to get wet. In our climate especially the days are not sunny long enough to completely dry the plant before dark. Using a soaker hose prevents blossom end rot and a host of other problems not to mention how easy watering will be.

The last step is adding the clear (or sort of clear) plastic on top of the caged plants. This creates a greenhouse effect and gives those valuable plants a headstart on their growth. We will remove the top plastic in about 4 weeks. I cannot wait for the fruits of our labor. Stay tuned...

Pluto and other things

We were discussing the possibility that Pluto will no longer be considered a planet.

Em says "Well then Pluto is the most famous rock in outer space." Pretty clever isn't she?

In other happenings we just got back from a few days at the beach and how nice it was. Great weather and lots of fun. We played in the ocean, ate good food, played games and visited with family. It was a recipe for good times and it came out well even if I did end up almost waist deep with a 26 pound cold little boy on my back crossing the rocky river barefoot. Time for some water shoes I think.

Today we are writing speeches and that is no small task. The kids are required to give a 3-5 minute speech over the phone to their teacher from the online charter school. Writing has been a large hurdle this year. So writing more than a couple paragraphs has been challenging. Bub decided his speech would be about our state and Lil is writing about what she would do if she were president. It is not boring reading. From Lil's rules of the road to Bub's fishing and hunting they have no shortage of interesting ideas. It's been fun listening to what they come up with. Later on I will head to a curriculum sale. A friend and I are trading babysitting for it and I am looking forward to the time to look around.

I plan to enjoy the day and hope that you enjoy yours.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Random photos

The two school girls have been laying out their clothing the night before school to make getting ready easier. Little brother decided he would do the same. He has an interesting sense of style don't you think? Oh and it seems he had something special planned on his schedule. Absolutely love that he set out a tie.

When setting out outfits the night before the two girls decided to try and match. They did pretty well right down to the matching headbands. They got ready all by themselves and did each others hair.

A recent track meet. Bub has been working on his form and won this race. He gets so intense when he runs. He is so fun to watch.

Lil also has been working on her form and won this race as well. She's fun to watch too. The track season is starting to wind down and it looks like these two found another sport that they will do again.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Practicing what I preach

In my efforts to train and establish what's expected in our home one thing has become glaringly clear. I cannot expect my kids to organize and care for their things if they do not see me doing the same.

In the house that's fairly easy for me but then again we have a garage and shop to hide those valuable items that we have no idea what to do with inside. Those buildings have become virtual graveyards for mountains of items that we couldn't possibly part with.

Well enough is enough I say! Would you agree? Are you with me? Can I hear a fight cry? All together now!

A mass exodus of chaos, clutter and debris has begun. As well as our house has become organizational central. Pray for me perserverance. The will to continue. Right now the adrenaline is enough but it threatens to wane at any moment.

My garage pantry is now neat and clean, all 300 jars lined up, stacked and waiting for whatever crops we decide to grow this year. The vacuum, carpet cleaner and mop finally have a permanent home. All my pre-digital pictures now have a watertight bin to live in until the day I find three minutes of free time to stuff them into albums.

Isn't it inspiring? It is spring after all. Spring is the time to clear out the closets, free the dustbunnies from their corners, fling open the windows and breathe the fresh air wafting in from the freedom that comes from being clutter free.

My friends, be inspired to shed some of those mind numbing, paralyzing pounds. Nope, not the ones from too much turkey at Christmas. I'm talking about all of the pounds of clutter that invade over the winter and interupt our lives at every turn. You know the ones. Don't let those closet doors be the baggy shirts we wear hoping no one notices that we ate the extra turkey. Yeah, you know what I'm talking about.

The front closet with coats, mittens and perhaps the 257 mates to the lone socks in the laundry room beckons. Now...where did I leave that perserverance?

Monday, May 12, 2008

A boy becoming a man

There once was a 3 year old little boy from Africa who had a new American family. He was sick with Malaria, scared of this new place and confused. He would kick, cry and fight his momma. Until one day, about 6 months after he came, his momma held him on the floor of his room and rocked him while he cried and kicked. She was crying out to God out loud asking him to set her little boy free from the spirit of rejection, to fill him with His love and heal the wound that was seeking to steal the sweet joy of this little boy's life. Suddenly that little boy collapsed and lay in his momma's lap sobbing and holding her back. That day my son's birth was complete in my heart, forever entwined in the bonds of a new convenant.
It is now six years later, that boy is now nine and on his way to becoming a young man. His Dad was leaving on a business trip recently. When his dad was saying goodbye to him I overheard our son say "So, I'm the man of the house?" His Dad said that he was and told him to take care of us.

While his dad was away he set to work. He fixed the refrigerator icemaker when I couldn't figure it out. He had also heard us talking one day about a vine we had found in the yard that looks like it might be a grape. His dad said that we should tie it up or build something for it. This is what I found in the yard when his dad returned and we were walking the yard making plans.

The vine is now secured and tied up so it can stretch out and do what it was intended to do. He did a fine job don't you think?

Life isn't all about work for our son. I mean, what's life without a go-cart? Here is another one of his creations that has been a lot of fun this last week. It can turn for those who are tall enough to reach the foot pedals. For those aren't, he'll show you how to use the rope to drive.

It has not been a road that has always been easy. But every once in awhile I watch him work or play and I get a glimpse into the future. I see that little boy and at the same time the man he is becoming. Lightening fast.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

I am grateful for my blessings.
Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 9, 2008

I've been tagged!

I was tagged by Ginger . It's my first tagging since I joined the blogging world and it's kind of exciting. I am supposed to list my three favorite things.

Wow just three...I can do this.

1) When my all of my kids dissolve into laughter together. Pure bliss. Well that and chocolate but that really is a given where I am concerned.

2) Working in the yard at 8:00 at night when the sun is headed down, my kids are in bed and it's 65 degrees out. So relaxing.

3) Dates with my husband. Trips to Wal-mart or Dollar Tree together without kids count.

I tag
Brooke and Kelli. The two bloggers that I know in real life.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

What can you do?

If 7% of Christians adopted ONE child, there would be no orphans in the world.

If one family from every church in America adopted one child from foster care, there would be no waiting kids in the system.

If you are not called to adoption in your home would you consider donating time or money to a family who's calling it is?

Adoption is not their thing. It's all of our thing. We are mandated to take care of the orphan and there are countless ways to do that. Adopt a child, donate money, hold a fundraiser, start an adoption ministry at church, help someone who already has, offer to give parents a break, pray, just be there for them.

So many don't want to get involved because it can be messy. They don't want to expose their own children. They don't have the funds. All valid reasons but having the child in your home is not the only way to be involved. There are so many invaluable ways that you can help make a difference to the families who are able to get messy.

We have thought of adopting again and may do so if God provides. We are not able to have more biological children and at times we would like to have an infant again. We still have a long ways to go in raising our children but the question is always out there, should we do it again? We may and we may not. But for sure our involvement with adoption will not end with the two gifts that we have been given from another land. There may be ways that we help others fan the flame that has been sparked in their own hearts and make a way for it to happen.

There is a link to an agency on the right that is working hard to find forever families for children as well as taking care of the children that stay in their home country. We have a jar on the counter that we add change and loose bills to for a Reading, wRiting and Rice program in Liberia, our twins' birth country. They love putting money in that jar. Every once in awhile my kids come and empty their wallets into it. Especially the older two, they are doing something to make a difference for those people that are in their hearts. We were talking with the kids recently about maybe adopting a baby someday if God allows. Moments later Lil brought me all the money she had, laid it on the table in front of me and said "Here is my donation". Her generosity is inspiring.

See those hands on the right in my sidebar? Those are my kids. My precious beautiful children. Is it messy sometimes? Sure it is. But some of the best fun is had while making messes. Just ask
my walls.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The fishbowl

We live in cul-de-sac right in the middle at the end. It's like a fishbowl at times. We have a large front window and sometimes we watch the fish and other times we are the fish. It's an odd feeling to be the fish. I know that I have been caught on more than one occasion dancing to a good song in the living room only to look up and discover a neighbor visiting with another neighbor facing my direction! I know a no regret life says dance like no one is watching but seriously! That is not something I want to subject my neighbors to.

Living with our houses all facing each other is fun and interesting. But there is one thing I have discovered.

Well there is lots I have discovered but you just get one today.

I need to be intentional about the way I live. I fall short constantly but it gives me purpose. We are being watched wherever we go. The grocery store, the mall, parks, schools and even church. It's easier to be on our best behavior there. But at home, the place where we let our hair down, well that's another story. If my neighbors have any preconceived notions about a mid-large size family then I either prove those right or I prove them wrong. They get to see it all.

If I believe that children are a gift from God then I need to live that way. I want my neighbors to see me enjoying my kids and being grateful for my gifts. Not just when I am schooling them or playing with them behind closed doors when no one is watching.

I think we have some pretty good parents in this neighborhood. Dad and moms alike are all out at different times playing with their kids and enjoying them. In the society in which we live it's nice to see that many families living that way in one place.

Feel like the song "What a Wonderful World" should be playing in the background?

Enjoy your day and your gifts whatever or whomever they may be. I am going to try and do the same.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

To train or not to train...

that is the question, with a relatively no brainer answer. Training is better but it requires so much on my part that often it gives way to me just doing things myself. I have heard it said that there are those personalities that recharge by being with people and those that recharge by being alone. I am sure there are many variations between. I am a half and half kind of person. I need to be with people as much as I need to be without. I enjoy the one night a week that my husband has class. I miss having him home but that hour between the kids going to bed and him coming home is a recharging hour. Not one person needs me to talk to them or interact with them and my entire house is quiet. It's not very often that my place of work is my place of rest.

It has come to my attention that in seeking solitude here and there I have taken off my house manager hat and in it's place put on a maid hat. I have become lazy in my training role. I have done the thing that so many well meaning moms have done. Especially those of us who homeschool and already crack the whip so to speak making sure all t's are crossed and i's dotted. When it comes to chore time I have been allowing the bare minimum and often times shortening the list just so I don't hear sighs and have jobs half done. Instead when they have done a couple chores I send them out to play while I go behind picking up the slack. They subconsciously know that if they leave something out I will put it away. But see that's the important key. If I was training, making them clean up and follow through and not allowing the sighing then there would be less chores and the chores left would take less time in the long run.

This is not a new concept to me. I am very familiar with it. It seems from time to time I revisit this same place of why everything is chaotic. Without fail each time it comes back to me. Ah yes it's me. Am I managing well? Have I been training or am I just on maid patrol? It's easy to blame the kids and say well they aren't picking up after themselves, they are not being considerate. Those things may be true but I have allowed it. Kids are wired that way. They will look for the boundary. When it's not there they push farther until they find it.

So off I am to the trenches of training. When I am fulfilling that role my kids are happier. They know what's expected of them, the house is orderly and their mom has more time for fun. That's what I want to remembered for. Not for being a martyr who can't get it all done. It's my job to show how fun it is to be a mom, how fun having kids can be. To show them how much I love having them around.

Hopefully someday my kids will appreciate their chore training. If not them then maybe their spouses will. If you are mom reading this and struggling with the same thing today take heart! Training is well worth the investment. We just have to get ourselves started. The benefits are almost immediate.