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.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


One of the reasons we homeschool is relationship. If you can find a way to live peacably with people you are with 24/7 then you can just about get along with anyone for a period of time. We give our kids lots of time outside the home because time away is good, too.

This scene last week, however, warmed my heart. Everything is not always roses and sunshine. We have our ups and downs and I wanted to document this moment as it happened. The kids were pretty restless so I had sent them out to run our road a bit before we finished our studies. The two girls walked the last two laps arm and in arm chatting about all kinds of things that I can only imagine about. Aren't they sweet?

They then spotted me with my camera and decided to run the last bit for good measure. The older two had long since finished their laps and little guy was the caboose.

Friday, January 22, 2010

The race is on

Last Sunday we found ourselves ready a little early. Steve had a great idea to have verse races.

He would pick a verse and then the kids would race to find it.

We had others join as they finished getting ready. It was fun and hilarious at times. (The hilarity came when Steve had them look for Hezekiah 9:2. ;-) )

Monday, January 18, 2010

On a mission

The mission of tackling Mt. Washmore that is. Laundry is not going to go away and lately I have been trying to climb the summit to place my flag and claim victory. I am almost there.

Weeks ago I got frustrated with running out of hangers. I almost bought more hangers and then thought better of it. We have a lot of hangers. If we are running out then it really is a no brainer. We have too much clothing and need to reduce the inventory.

Getting rid of clothing in this house, however, is a tricky task. A few of my kids develop attachments to anything that was a gift, including clothing. So, I deal with it in the most straighforward way I know how. I remove fading, out of size items one at a time while hanging up clothing as it comes out of the dryer. The kids normally hang up their own clothing but I took over that part to accomplish this task in the least painless way as possible.

Slowly things are making their quiet way to the donation and storage boxes in the garage. So far there have only been a few moments of despair as things have made their way to the boxes.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Staying active in the winter

Homeschooling your kids means that you have to make sure that you provide lots of physical opportunities in the winter. Without a gym and the fact that we live in a rainy part of the country makes that a challenge. But activity is a very important requirement when you are home all of the time.
I was having some cabin fever and was feeling a little snippy. I had just sent the kids out to play for a bit before school because the sun had come out and there was no guarantee that it would last. A few nights before during Lil's basketball practice Steve had the other kids playing line tag in a gym that was empty next door.

I talked to Steve and told him about my morning so far and the challenge I was having. He suggested line tag for after school since the kids had enjoyed it so much. Great idea! Bub went out and used his chalk to make the course. I called the kids in and told them that when we finished school we would go out and play line tag with our neighbors. They were thrilled and it gave them something to look forward to while they worked on the basics.

Even though we do get some sun breaks we have to find solutions while it rains too. We have never been fans of video games and that hasn't really changed. However, looking for a solution to the winter time blues, we decided to surprise the kids at Christmas last year and purchased a Wii. It has been invaluable in the colder months last year and this year as well. It was hardly used in the summer but come the rain and cold and here we are again.

Some of the games are absolutely hilarious. Last night Steve and Lil had a few pool matches and after that Steve challenged Els to a cow racing competition. I love that the Wii can be a whole family activity and breaks us of our cabin fever. It helps. Spring, how we miss you.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The cry of Haiti

I'm not sure if I have ever shared here that Steve and I were honored to be able to spend just over a week in Haiti almost three years ago. My dad led a trip there and my brother was able to go as well. I am sure that you have heard about the devastating earthquake that occurred in Haiti yesterday.

There is a compound in Haiti called Canaan about thirty miles north of Port au Prince, the capital that has been leveled. We stayed there the entire trip. Canaan houses more than one hundered orphan children plus many workers who care for them. Canaan and it's residents fill the children's bellies with food, their hearts with love and their spirits with life of our living God. The moment one of the children greeted me at the airport my heart broke into a thousand pieces. In that instant I knew that a piece of my heart would not go home with me as well as a piece of Haiti would remain in my heart.

This little girl quickly became my shadow. Wherever I was no matter what I was doing a little hand would slip into mine and she would lean into me. It was hard to leave her there.

This place is an oasis in a desert. They take care of their own as well as reach out to the surrounding community sharing all that they have.

There are no walls around Canaan (unusual as that may be) yet no one with evil intent has ever crossed the property line. They are protected as they show the true love of Christ.

Haiti is a beautiful place but the lands have been stripped leaving it the poorest of all countries in the Western Hemisphere.

Pastor Henri and Sister Gladys have a passion for the hearts of the people in Haiti. You cannot go there and not catch the vision.

The conditions there are not easy, the work is not easy. But there is hope.

Christ in the little girl is hope.

Working side by side is hope.

This painted mural is on a wall in Canaan. The writing means "Togetherness in Christ".

Canaan needs us more than ever now. Word made it out that our friends are safe but resources will be scarce more than ever before. Canaan will take care of those around them and they need Christ to work through us together. If you are moved to help you can send donations to the following reputable organization and they will forward it to Canaan:

True Vine Christian Fellowhip
118 4th Street
McMinnville, OR 97128

Please mark that your donation is for Canaan in Haiti.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Basketball and other odds and ends

We are into the next season of sports with full force. Lil is playing basketball and I am grateful that so far there are only two practices per week which helps it not be too hectic. One practice cuts into Awana night which is a bummer on hand but kind of nice on another. Having both activities on one night keeps five nights free. I treasure nights with no plans.

We have started school back up and it's going pretty well. Math is proving to be more of a challenge for one person but we are trudging through and making progress. It is definitely hard to get back into a schedule with three weeks off that included lots of sleeping in. Add to that a mom who started a cold at the beginning of last week that is now stretching into this week and you have one tired mom.

Steve's car was totalled last month while parked outside his office building. We finally got the check from the other insurance company last week and were able to purchase a nice car for less than the check. I have been using for all of my errands the last week since it is really fun to drive. So far Steve hasn't minded sharing too much with me.

One of my teenage brothers came to stay last weekend and that was fun for all of us. He hasn't been here for awhile and it was nice to play games of Scrabble and watch the kids climb all over him.

Well, that's it for now. Mount Washmore calls. Hopefully I will have something more interesting to share tomorrow.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Mission Accomplished

Remember this from a few days ago? It was my first organizing project of the new year and I am happy to say that it is done.

We started by completely emptying the pantry in assembly line fashion. I then vaccummed out the various bits of flour, flax seed and chocolate chips. A wash down of the shelf paper and scrubbing of the floor completed the first phase.

After the cleaning was done I made a mental plan of action. I removed one shelf from the door that is always tipping and got rid of it. I then moved some of the inside portable hanging shelves to places that made more sense for my plan.

Here is what I finished with. It's not perfect and I may do some tweaking but it was good to take inventory and see what I have too much of and what we need to get. I think that four packages of napkins and three boxes of kitchen bags is overkill. I might have to investigate my apparant concern for running out of either one of those items. It could be symbolic.

The new organization moved items to better locations. For the younger set in our house chips have been moved to higher ground while the cereal options are within reach. This makes more sense for us.

Taking the basket off the door also gave me a place to post the menu for the week as well as a blank shopping list to fill out when anyone takes the last of something out of the pantry. The kids can also make requests for an item here.
All in all, the hour I spent on this project was absolutely worth it. Now on to the hall closet. I'm not sure I can bring myself to show before pictures of that. It's bad!!!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The circle of life

We spent the day playing games and watching the high tide. At some point, someone noticed that there were sea lions swimming around in the bay. The kids were out the door quite fast. We were enjoying watching them roll and swim and play.

(I thought the way they were watching was pretty cute.)

You can see one of them swimming in the water above.

But then as the afternoon wore on and the tide waters receeded, we noticed something on the beach.

Upon further inspection we found this guy/girl and he/she didn't look like they felt very well.

As the waters came back up the sea lion would lift it's head.

The sea lion eventually mustered up some strenth and pulled himself further up the sand. After he just layed there for a long while we decided to call the State Police and see what they had to say. They decided to send out a volunteer who handled these kinds of situations.

About thirty minutes later the trooper and a local citizen arrived with a sign to place near the sea lion and check him/her out. The trooper said that there is a virus going around for the sea lions. The trooper approached the sea lion and he only lifted his head to bark at her once and it wasn't very convincing. She agreed that his behavior was not normal and that if he was still there in the morning they would send out mammal rescue. She also said that sometimes they rest and recover and sometimes they don't.

We have learned a lot and it was fun for the kids to learn about sea lions. We are going to spend some time researching them this week now that we have seen one in real life up close. In the morning our sea friend had disappeared. We are hoping that rest and recovery was what happened. But either way it was a fascinating lesson in life and a great way to spend the afternoon observing.

Ringing in the New Year

We stayed at the coast house that we visit a few times a year. We get to use the house as part of a work share and because my husband's mother manages the home. We do not take it for granted that we are allowed to stay there. My sister and her family came to stay with us while we rang in the new year.

We did the usual relaxing by the windows watching the ocean.

It wouldn't be vacation (or morning, really) if I didn't have my iced frap.

The house is on a bay and most of the time there is a beach in front of the rocks. The tide comes in especially high this time of year and completely fills the bay sometimes spashing water over the rocks. The kids enjoyed going out into the mist and standing above the rocks to watch the water.

You can stand in silence and watch if forever it seems.

Tomorrow I will post about what four of the kids were looking at in the above picture. For now I will leave you with several shots of the sunsets we enjoyed through the view out of the front windows.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Starting the new year right

It's time for me to get organized once again. I have been decluttering here and there but my biggest project this week is my pantry. I have been considering joining the eating from my pantry challenge because my pantry is out of control. Case in point.

Nothing is grouped together anymore and a lot of my great buys are buried amongst the chaos. Great deals don't save you very much money if you don't use them because you can't find them. So herein lies my challenge to myself this week. Organize the food!

Because, really. What self-respecting woman lets it get this bad?
It's a sad, sad affair.

It also looks like some child training needs to happen when letting kiddos help me put things away. I don't remember asking anyone to put the juice and noodle soup very carefully in the floor. Sigh. (Check back for progress updates with pictures.)