Monday, December 20, 2010

God with us

This morning I sit here, already downed my cup of coffee, fire cracking in the wood stove, baby boy talking and bouncing in his seat, husband napping beside me, my brain a muddled mess as I think about last night and what happened a  few short hours ago. And the phrase that keeps coming to mind is, "Emmanuel, God with us...."
Last night we put the kids to bed and went to bed pretty early ourselves last night. About 2:30 this morning, I heard a commotion (our kids), and Larissa had come up to where we were sleeping. We asked her what was wrong and she said Charlotte was sick and coughing and she was almost crying. I followed her back downstairs with some medicine I had brought with us on our trip. I got down to their room, and it was filled with smoke. I look at the foot of Larissa's bed, she was sleeping on the top bunk, and noticed that she must have been playing with the welcome light my mom had put in the window. Larissa had left it on her bed and must have fallen asleep. It was smoldering on the bed. I yelled for Nate and he quickly pulled the mattress out of the room, down the steps, and out the door. We opened the windows in their room and put a fan in there to blow the smoke out. It smelled so bad. I can totally understand the dangers of smoke inhalation. I felt like I couldn't breathe. We put an air mattress downstairs and we all slept in the living room. Once we got the girls settled, Nate and I couldn't go to sleep. Your mind goes to "what if" land and instantly I am conjuring up all these alternate endings. Not to mention my dad tells us to look outside, and we have a serious bonfire going on out where Nate tossed the mattress. To think that if that would have gotten just a little air, that mattress would have totally erupted into flames, with our baby girls inside.....tears fill up my eyes now, just thinking about it.
Emmanuel, God with us. The phrase just kept going through my mind. Like God was whispering it to me, to just remind me, He is always with us. In tragedy, in heartbreak, in triumph, in loneliness, in defeat, He is with us. I am just so thankful that the girls woke up. That smoke could have just been so strong, they never would have had a chance, and we could have had a blazing fire. I don't deserve God's mercy or grace, but I am so thankful for it. For a second chance, another opportunity.  There are so many times in life where I can get so frustrated with myself, with my kids, with people, and then something like this happens, and it just brings the uncertainty of life and that there's no guarantee that you will get a tomorrow, that just brings home the meaning of living your life today as if it was your last. Loving on those kids, your spouse, your friends, your family, and treasuring and valuing that time, because it may be your last.
Emmanuel, God with us.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

We made it!

Yes, we finally made it into Pennsylvania! We left Monday around ten in the morning, and made it to the farm Thursday evening around 8p.m. What a trip! The kids did so well. The girls hardly ever complained. When we first started, Alaina, would sigh dramatically and declare, "We are NEVER going to get to Pennsylvania!" To which we would laugh and say we only just got started! It takes three days to get to PA! But after the first day she pretty much got over the sighing and declaring. We ran through no precip except for some slight misting in Oklahoma and southern Kansas. In case you are wondering, yes, we did take a slight detour. My husband has itchy feet and wanted to look at some land in OK and KS. We also made a pit stop in Hesston, KS, where I have some family. We usually stop there as a resting place. There's nothing like a great home cooked meal, a woodstove, good coffee, great conversation and a clean house. Staying in hotels can get old....and expensive! So we spent Tuesday evening and Wednesday until after lunch with Merv and Betty Ann. Two of my favorite people. I went to college at Hesston College and they became surrogate parents to me since I was so far from home. And now  our kids are getting to know them and love them too.
Leaving Hesston we drove to Terre Haute, Indiana.  We got a hotel there and spent the night. The three girls shared a queen sized bed and Larissa fell out around 3 a.m.! So funny. She just hopped right up and got back in bed and went back to sleep. When we got up the next morning it was only 10 or 11 degrees! And Thursday we drove the rest of the way.
There is one who did not fare so well on this trip. Landon does NOT, I repeat, does NOT like his carseat. Not even a little. So I will just sum it up to say, I am glad we will not be taking any LONG trips while we are in here. He has two weeks to forget his terrible experience, and then he'll get to do it again!
I would have taken some pictures of this adventure, but my camera was packed somewhere deep in the suburban and still hasn't surfaced! But I need to find it because today is the first of many family get togethers. Until later......

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

December Link Up

Hey, it feels like it's been a while since I've written anything.I wish I had something really profound to write....but I don't! :) But I am linking up over here. Courtney is offering some really great ideas for keeping sight of the reason we celebrate Christmas. Check it out over here.....

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


I cannot believe this week is Thankgiving! Time has just flown by and the year is almost over. Soon we will be heading back to Pennsylvania, a long 36 hour trip. The kids are super excited, and I hope they stay that way as they watch mile after mile from their carseats! I woke up early this morning, thought it had been a while since I had blogged, and thought about blogging 30 things I am thankful for. I have a few friends who posted something new in their facebook status each day for the 30 days of November, but I never joined in. So, I thought I would do it here. 30 things I am thankful for, in no particular order, just as they come into my head.......
1. flannel sheets. Every year I look forward to putting them on my bed when it finally gets cold enough here. I don't want to get out of bed in the morning. Ever.
2. Smell of coffee percolating in the morning. I love getting up in the morning to the smell of fresh coffee brewing in the pot. And that first sip in the morning....yum!
3. my husband. Hard to believe it will be 8 years next week! The time has just flown by. He is one of the most hardworking men I know. He has dreams and ambition, and the motivation and will to get 'er done. Love him.
4. a sweet smelling baby, especially after a bath.
5. A particular little 5 year old who insists on recreating a "wipeout" obstacle course throughout our living room. No one is safe.
6. A mischievous 3 year old who has the best belly laugh, and loves to tease. Just like her dad. And grandpas. And great-grandpa. Her brown eyes still make me melt.
7. A 6 year old who is growing up so fast. Who still enjoys sitting close and snuggling, and enjoys working in the kitchen with me.
8. music. How quiet our house would be without music playing throughout. Pretty much all the time. I am not the only who likes music in the house. My oldest daughter loves to put cds in the player. And then I have ballerinas throughout the house.
9. running water. A couple years ago, our well went bad and I did not have water for two weeks. I had to go down to my mother in law's and fill up lots of gallon jugs of water to drink, wash dishes, and flush toilets. Yeah, not a  lot of fun. But it made me appreciate the luxury of having water. Most people in our world today still don't have access to indoor plumbing. a very humbling thought when you let yourself think about it. Plus, I am just in awe of the women who came before me in settling this country. Those pioneer women were tough.
10. my brother and sisters. I am so thankful that my parents didn't stop having kids after me. From what I am told, I wasn't the easiest baby in the world, and my brave parents still went on and had 3 more kids after me. Being across the country, has made me appreciate the times I get to spend with them more. And they are seriously, some of the funniest people I know.
11. full moon. Out where I live, when it's full moon, you can see for miles. Seriously. There are no city lights nearby, actually, there's really nothing nearby (!), and the moon just lights up the sky. It's beautiful.
12. Campfires. I love sitting outside at the night with the kids and Nate, watching the fire, roasting marshmallows, and watching the girls impromptu performances for us. It usually includes singing, and some kind of story telling. Entertaining, every time.
13. Shooting stars. I never saw so many shooting stars until I moved out here. The morning Nate and I were out walking while I was in labor with Landon, at 3 a.m. we saw like 5-7 shooting stars. Amazing. God's creativity never ceases to amaze me.
14. My parents. I loved being brought up on a farm, where we had the freedom to play outside, roam the meadows and create forts and play in streams, go sledding down the big hill. Even feeding calves and bringing in the cows for milking and unloading hay, all taught us responsibility and working together. My mom comes out every time I have a baby and stays for two weeks, which is absolutely priceless! My dad still has his crazy sense of humor and can make me laugh until my stomach hurts. Literally. And they love being grandparents.
15. my fireplace. I am sitting in my living room right now, typing this, before my fireplace. It's electric, but it still flames like a real one. Love it.
16. Speaking of fireplaces, I love the woodstove at the farm. I love sitting downstairs by it, and hearing it crackle, or being outside and smelling the wood burning. It would get so warm downstairs that you could wear a tank top in December or January. Not that I ever did or anything.... And my dad would be sitting on the sofa, dozing off, because it was so warm!
17. Christmas trees. I love the smell of pine throughout the house. Especially coming home from church, after the house has been locked up for a few hours and you open the door, and instant pine, mountainy smell. Love it!
18. Crockpot. I love my crockpot. I use it lots. I am so thankful for a one meal machine, where it does all the work for me.
19. Snow. I don't get much snow out here in AZ, but just the purity and whiteness of snow. Reminds me of the verse in the Bible where it says we will be washed white as snow.
20. Friends. I have had some friends for over 20 years. That's amazing in itself, and those friendships mean so much to me. Even though we aren't physically close to each other, we can see each other and pick up right where we left off. That is pretty special.
21. Grace. I am so thankful for grace. And that God extends His grace to me, fresh every day. A new do-over every day.
22. my porch. My husband built the porch for me the year I had Charlotte, and it's one of the best things we've done to our house. We use it a lot during spring and summer, especially watching the monsoon storms coming across the valley. And it has a swing! My favorite.
23. Flowers. I can't really grow my favorite flowers out here because it gets so hot, but I have found some that will grow for me. And the splash of color against the browns of the desert are beautiful.
24. Chocolate. Enough said.
25. US soldiers. I never really knew any active duty soldiers until I moved out here. There is a military base where we go to church, and so I have had the honor of knowing some soldiers who attend our church. I am so thankful for them and their sacrifice. Their willingness to protect those they don't know. Humbling.
26. my inlaws. I know I am in the minority, because I love my inlaws, and am so thankful for them. I would have had a pretty tough time adjusting to life out here in the desert, if it wasn't for them. They are some of the most generous and kind people I know. And I am blessed.
27. books. I am a book freak. I love books. I love my bookshelves my husband built me that are overflowing with books. I love to just sit in my office and look at my busting bookshelves. I am weird, I know. I just love having a wide selection to read. I love losing myself in a good book. And I love reading parenting books.....because I need the advice! :)
28. candles. The smell of a good candle wafting throughout the house, can just make your home feel so cozy and welcoming. I love candles. Especially cake candles.
29. the sibling relationship between my girls. Yes, they can fight like cats and dogs, but really, for the most part, they play well together. All three share a room together. And nothing beats sitting around the table, watching them drink their hot chocolate (because they aren't allowed to drink coffee yet, although they are known to steal sips when a certain mom is distracted by something else), and talking and giggling. Sisterly bonds. Love that. I am thankful for that with my own sisters.
30. Rainbows. I have always had a thing for rainbows. My grandpa even worked rainbows into our wedding ceremony. I am so thankful for the reminder of God's presence. His care and provision. His love. His mercy and grace. All things I am unworthy of. But in His lavish love, He gives us these little glimpses of His glory. And being out here, we see lots of rainbows. Lots of double rainbows. And I am just reminded over and over that God is here. He is everywhere.
So there are just a few things I am thankful for. I am learning as I get older, that if you look for the good in situations, things that you can be thankful for, you are a much more pleasant person to be around. I'd much rather be a cup half full person, then a half empty person. But it takes work. It's so easy to be negative. But being a thankful person, I think makes you more sensitive to see the gifts God gives us everyday. Because He does gift us everyday.  Sometimes in big ways, but mostly in small ways, if we would just slow down and see them. Happy Thanksgiving, and may we be thankful everyday!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Doesn't the title sound Christmasy? This is a recipe for one of my favorite things to make in the crockpot. With homeschooling and eating our big meal at lunchtime, I have come to depend on my crockpot for a lot of my meals. It's so nice when the meal makes itself! This one is great because all you have to make is a vegetable.
Pinecones in Tomato Sauce
2 8oz cans of tomato sauce (I used one 15oz can)
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 cup water
1 1/4 lbs ground beef (I just use one pound package of beef)
1/2 cup long cooking rice
2T onion, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
Mix together tomato sauce, garlic powder and water in slow cooker. Combine remaining ingredients in large bowl, mix well. Shape into 24 pinecone shaped balls. Arrange in slow cooker. Cover and cook on low 7-8 hours.
Now, I make mine for lunch, cook on low and it's done in 4-5 hours. And this is also fun for little kids to shape the pinecones. My girls helped me just this morning. And it smells super yummy as it's cooking! I got this recipe in my Goosebery Patch Slow Cooker cookbook. There are lots of other great recipes in there, so if you like using your crockpot, you should definitely check it out!
Oh, and I am linking up over here today....

Friday, November 5, 2010

field trip

Before I share pictures of our field trip to the Chiricahua Monument from this past Sunday, somebody is turning three months old today!!!
I must say that with each baby I am enjoying this stage so much more. I guess because I realize now how quickly they move from this sweet cuddly, helpless stage into a mobile, independent little person. I just can't get over his smiles and how much he LOVES his sisters. Even when they give him NO personal space. He just smiles and laughs. I wish I could react to life that way.....
AnYwAy, here are some pics from our recent trip to the Monument

The girls has a blast climbing up the rocks and looking at the view. During harvest, Nate is so busy that it's hard to find any time to carve out as a family. Last week he spent a lot of time in the tractor, working ground so he can plant oats before we leave for Christmas, which by the way is a month from now! So he is working extra hard. One night he stayed out and disked the entire night. So we stayed home from church last Sunday and spent it as a family.  We had homemade burgers and french fries, and then packed up the kids and headed to the Monument. We spent a few hours up there, climbing rocks and admiring God's creativity. Some of the rock structures are just amazing. It was the first time the girls were up there. Next time we might try camping up there.....yeah, I'll let you know how that turns out! :)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Today I felt it necessary, while folding laundry, to review and re-evaluate the reasons why we are homeschooling. You see, I had a rough morning. In fact, lately it feels like we are kind of in a rough spot. It feels like I am pulling teeth to get any of the lessons done. And I really hate that. So here are some of the reasons why we decided to homeschool:
-my husband's slow time is over the winter and right before harvest, so for us to travel anywhere together as a family, it would have to be right when school is starting or during the middle of the year.
-I want to encourage close relationships between my children. I want my girls to be each other's best friends. I have seen too many families drift apart once older siblings start school and feel more pressure to fit in with their friends and feel that is isn't "cool" to spend time with younger siblings or the family in general. I know this doesn't happen in all families, but knowing how I treated my younger brother and sisters when I was a teenager, I don't want this to happen in our family. And I am not saying that it couldn't happen in our home anyway, but I think homeschooling will discourage it.
-I want to iron out any relationship issues I have with my children now, when they are younger, then have them in school the majority of their day and only have a couple hours with them each day, and not realizing we have some issues until they are teenagers and til then, it could be too late. This is the one reason I have to remember when I am doubting myself. I'd rather deal with this now, then when they are in their teens. But it's still hard.
-I also don't like that school gets them the majority of the day. I only would get the morning, which is rushed, trying to get out the door to catch a bus, and a couple hours in the evening which would be spent doing homework, any extracurricular activities and the whole bedtime routine. Not much time for cultivating relationship. Not to mention that they would be tired and cranky, and not the most pleasant.
-I do believe that this is God's will for our lives in this season right now. And that is the most important reason of all. It's just hard when I have had a challenging morning, and I can hear the voice in my head saying that I am a terrible mother, that I am ruining my kids, that I am a bad teacher, that they aren't learning anything, why don't I just give up? But then I also have to remind myself that God doesn't condemn. He will convict, and He definitely has, when my attitude has been less then the best, but He will not condemn me, call me names, or make me feel like a loser. That is the Devil. The one who opposes anyone who is trying to live out their Holy calling, God's plan for their life. Who doesn't want to see close, loving families. He would rather have us running in a hundred different directions, not eating a meal together, or enjoying each other's company.
I know homeschooling can be a polarizing subject. I believe that it's a personal decision, something that God has to call you to do, because it's one of the hardest things you will ever do. I went to public school and had a pretty good experience. But that was 13 years ago and a lot has changed since then!
So I am glad that I had this little review. It's good to reflect and remember why we do the things we do. Just have to push through this tough time, the view from the mountain top will be beautiful!

the view from my front porch

Saturday, October 23, 2010

In the Moment

I have a confession to make. I don't always love being a mom. There. I said it. But it's true. I had no idea how hard being a mom would be. How I could get so frustrated and angry. At myself. Being a parent is one of the hardest jobs you will do because it forces you to look at yourself and all your flaws and have to deal with them. And I really don't like those kinds of self-evaluations! And there is the constant double standard of the way I can hold my children up to this high standard, that I demand they follow, yet I feel justified in my less then stellar attitudes when they fall short. Yeah, like I have it all together. Like I live in a constant state of perfection, where God never has to discipline me. Uh, huh. Like God never has to exert patience where I am concerned. Hmmm...
I get tired of breaking up fights. of refereeing, of cleaning up, of being needed. Dying to self is hard. Choosing the unselfish path, the selfless path, is difficult. But thank goodness we serve a God who delights in helping us, who never runs out, who we can run to, who will fill us up if we only ask. I just need to train myself to call on Him for help instead of feeling sorry for myself and getting frustrated and angry.
I was reading a blog a couple of weeks ago of a mom who was exhausted. She was giving her kids a bath and as she pulled each one out, she realized that one day she will miss this. Miss the messes, miss the reading books before bedtime, the chaos at mealtimes, the dirt and mud. Because one day, these little people will grow up and move out and have their own lives. Sure, they will come to visit, but the house will feel empty. Alone.
I was looking at some of Alaina's 5th birthday pictures, and there was one that just caught my eye. It was of Alaina, and I could see she was totally starting to lose that little girl look and moving more into a big girl look. It made me feel a little panicked. Like time is ticking away....which it is. I know with Landon, I am definitely enjoying the baby stage more now then ever before. Because I have understood how fast it truly goes. Because before you know it, you have a six year old, who is an individual with different ideas, who is watching everything you do and is very quick to call you out if you are just one time inconsistent. And it is this older stage that I need to learn to enjoy a little more. A little more grace, a little more mercy, a little more love, more hugs and kisses and snuggle time. Explaining and talking about things instead of thinking they are too young or they will just do it because I said so! There is a definite need for immediate obedience, but there is also a time for explanation and discussion as to why. Which is what I struggle with. Taking the time. What am I in such a big hurry for anyway? I need to remember that I am planting seeds in a life that one day I hope to witness a harvest in. Sometimes pulling the weeds, watering the ground and fertilizing it can get tiresome, sometimes downright annoying because you just dealt with that weed yesterday and it's back again, but in the same way God extends his grace and mercy to me, I need to be extending that to my children. No strings attached.
These are just some thoughts that have been swirling around in my head lately. I think the most important thing in this season of my life right now is to learn how to be present with my children, my husband, and most importantly my God. Because once I figure that out, everything else will fall into place. To be in constant conversation. I have my mind so focused on a needed quiet time, where I am uninterrupted for an hour. That's just not my season right now. And I need to learn to adjust. To be flexible. God hasn't gone anywhere. He is willing to meet me wherever I am. It's me. I need to quit putting God in a box of "I can only meet with God during a scheduled quiet time" and see Him in my everyday life. Talk to Him while I wash dishes, hang out laundry, wash the floor, and scrub the bathtub. He will meet me wherever I am. Wherever you are. Right Now.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

11 weeks

Here is our 11 week old boy!! He is growing way too fast. I expect him to start laughing any day. Sometimes we can get a little giggle out of him and then he smiles and looks a little confused as to what he was trying to do. And I think he is going to start waking up cooing soon as well, which is so nice. I hate to hear him waking up crying.

This picture is of Landon in the Philly's cap my mom got for him. It's a little too big yet, but it won't be long until it fits. Maybe in time for our big trip back to Pennsylvania for Christmas!

I am just loving all the free smiles he is throwing our way right now. It's so fun when they can interact with you. Only thing is, this boy is nosey! I don't remember my girls being so curious at this young of an age. I thought that happened when they were a little older. Landon will stop his feeding to look around if he hears his sisters. And my heart just melts when he stops nursing and smiles because he hears their voices, or his daddy. So sweet! We are just loving our baby. In fact, Alaina has been telling me multiple times a day that she wants a baby sister. Now. Like yesterday. I tried to explain to her that she has a baby sister and her name is Charlotte. But no, she wants herself a little baby. I also tried to explain to her that babies don't stay small, that they grow. To which she looked shocked, and then disappointed. Lets not rush this Alaina!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Homemaking Link up

I am linking up over here today. Check out some thoughts on homemaking.
I am celebrating my #2 daughter's birthday today and picking up my cousin from the airport for a week long visit!!!! Yay!!!! Pictures sure to some point. Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Somebody's turning 5!

Alaina Grace is turning five today! Hard to believe five years ago, around 2 a.m., Alaina Grace was brought into this world, caught by her daddy, sans midwife! What a crazy night that was! And what a wild ride it has been with this girl since. As you can tell in the above picture, this girl is one imaginative, silly, tomboyish, sassafras kind of girl!

                HAPPY BIRTHDAY ALAINA!

Monday, October 11, 2010

How to make your home up

I linking up today over at Women Living Well. Today's challenge is to play peaceful, worshipful music in your home today, and to speak in a quiet, calm voice. I also have my candle lit from last week's challenge. I love the smell of fall wafting through my house this beautiful fall morning!
On my stereo I have playing some of my favorite. I love Travis Cottrell's cd, Jesus Saves. Every song on the CD speaks to me in some way. I wrote about that CD before, here. I also have a CD from Gateway Worship, and a group of 4 CDs called Home Again, I found them on the CBD website. They are very calming, acoustic praise and worship CDs. I used to have music playing throughout the house all day, but when I started homeschooling last year, I got out of the habit because I wanted to limit the distractions for my daughter, since her two younger sisters were enough of one! :) But we are taking this week off because my cousin is coming to visit for the week, so the music will play! I love to put all my CDs in and let them be shuffled. It's amazing how in the afternoon when the kids are laying down, God meets me in my living room. I don't know what song will play next, and just when I need it, He creates the best playlist. I love those moments.
This morning I was laying in bed and heard my girls just after six, so the speaking calmly and peacefully will be a challenge! I have already had a few spats this morning because three little girls got up too early, but hopefully I will be more intentional today about watching my tongue. I'll let ya know!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Home Sanctuary

I am linking up over here today. I love to read her blog on ideas and tips for cleaning, and just making your home a sanctuary. Happy Friday!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Another way home can be peaceful to me is when everything is running like clockwork. When the kids and I have a routine down, and it's working! Now this doesn't happen everyday, probably not every other day....when you have four kids six and under in the house, and one is only nine weeks old, there isn't much predictable in life. But we can strive and aim for routine. One thing that keeps our house running smoothly is a schedule. And by schedule I run more by a routine schedule then a time schedule. And flexibility is always important because, lets face it, things come up. Like my husband may call me for a ride from a field right before I am ready to start school, or one of the girls may spill something all over the floor, or, my favorite, you are just ready to walk out the door and your darling newborn decides to load his pants. Yes, life happens. But I like to get up in the morning with a plan. With a goal. And I thought I would share my weekly plan with you......
Breakfast Responsibilities:
Alaina & Charlotte: dry breakfast dishes
Mom: lunch prep (we eat our dinner at lunchtime)
Morning Devotional: we are reading from the book of Mark right now, and also the book, Leading Little Ones to God (Sonlight curriculum)
Larissa is to bring out the laundry
Lunch Responsibilities:
Charlotte: set table
Larissa: dry and put away lunch dishes
Kids: pick up toys before quiet time
Breakfast Responsibilities:
Alaina & Char dry dishes
Mom: lunch prep
Devotional: Bible and Leading Little Ones to God
Larissa: clean girls' bathroom
Mom: clean my bathroom
Char & Alaina: gather towels to wash
Lunch Responsibilities:
Alaina: set table
Larissa: dry and put away dishes
Kids: put away toys before QT
Breakfast Responsibilities:
Alaina & Char: dry breakfast dishes
Mom: lunch prep
Devotional: Bible and Leading Little Ones to God
Larissa: help strip beds
Mom: bedding
Girls: dust bedrooms
Lunch Responsibilities:
Char: set table
Larissa: dry and put dishes away
Breakfast Responsibilities:
Alaina & Char: dry breakfast dishes
Mom: lunch prep
Devotional: bible and Leading Little Ones...
Larissa: wipe down bathroom
Char: roll out mom and dad's laundry
Alaina: girls laundry basket
Lunch responsibilities:
Alaina: set table
Larissa: dry and put away dishes
Kids: pick up toys before QT
Breakfast Responsibilities:
Alaina & Char: dry breakfast dishes
Mom: lunch prep
Devotional: bible and Leading Little....
Larissa: wipe down chairs
Mom: vacuum
Girls: dust living room
Lunch Responsibilities:
Char: set table
Larissa: dry and put away dishes
Kids: pick up toys before QT
Mom: vacuum
Breakfast responsibilities:
Char & Larissa: dry breakfast dishes
Mom: clean kitchen
Char: help with any laundry
Lunch Responsibilities:
Alaina: dry dishes
Larissa: set table
Kids: p/up toys before QT
Mom: wash floors
I will usually sit down and plan our meals out for the next two weeks.

This is our routine for the week. I try to stick with it as much as possible. On Mondays I will also try to get to the store. I plan our meals out for two weeks, so I only go to the store every two weeks. We live over a half an hour away from the grocery store, so I try to write as extensive of a list as possible, because I just can't run to the store for a forgotten item. We also only do school four days a week. The other day is a catch up day, or a baking day with the girls. Our evenings are typically low key.
I read the book "Homeschooling at the Speed of Life", by Marilyn Rockett, and she included a CD rom of printouts of different schedules and plans that you can personalize to your life. I use these to write out my schedule and it hangs on a bulletin board in my kitchen. I also hang my menus there and grocery list. It's nice to have everything in one place.
I love to hear about others' schedules and routines, and ways that they choose to organize their homes, in hopes that I may learn something new that may save me time. Feel free to share yours......

Monday, October 4, 2010

A Haven

I linked up today to the Women Living Well blog. Courtney is talking about how to make your home a haven. This week's challenge is to light a candle and every time you see the flame, you are to offer up a prayer for peace in your home. I like having lit candles, especially cake candles. They smell so nice and cozy. But today I made a special effort to pray for my family and that peace would reign in this house. It's been a while since I have done that. And as I did that today, I started thinking about what speaks peace to me, and how my home conveys that thought. One thing that I did when I first got married and moved out here to Arizona was to pray over each room in my house, that it would bring peace and comfort to all who entered. We sold that house and then moved into our current house. I was just thinking today about whether I prayed over each room in this house. I can't remember. That is something that could be done again.
Things that speak peace and comfort to me are fires in stoves or fireplaces, lit candles, the smell of something baking or potpourri on the stove top simmering away, soft blankets, big over sized chairs and sofas that you sink into (not so great for the back, though!), a hot drink (coffee!), soothing music, quietness, and kids playing well together. I must confess some days I feel as though that last one is a dream, rather than a reality. And more than our home feeling like a peaceful haven for friends and visitors to come too, it's also got to feel that way to my husband and my kids. A lot of times it feels like when my husband walks through the door, I am ready to vent to him about my day. How tired I am, how the kids fought, which one I had trouble with, how school went, and on and on it goes. Do you think he enjoys coming home to that? Probably not! I am trying to teach myself to wait, to discuss those things after he's had a chance to sit down, relax, and the kids have gone to bed. That verse in Proverbs comes to mind, you know, the one about a nagging wife? I don't want that to be me! And  I don't want to be the wife who tears down the walls to her home. I also want our kids to feel as though this is a peaceful home. A place they want to come home to, to be in, to live life. To have the freedom to make mistakes and try again, and not be ridiculed. I have a long way to go, but God is changing my heart, opening my eyes to the ways in which I can improve the life of our home.

Linking up to making your home a haven

I am linking up here today. I already have my candle, and once I get my contacts in and drink my cup of coffee, I will trust myself to light it! I have always wanted to have a cozy, warm home. A place where people feel welcomed and at peace. I am going to try and remember everytime I see my flickering candle to pray for peace in my home this week.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Firsts of Fall

I wanted to share some pictures I got this morning of harvest. It is full swing here at our house. I love the smell of the corn in the air. Here are some action shots of Nate and my father in law, Ray, working this morning.

 And here are some pictures of Landon. He has started smiling and I wanted to try and capture it. Unfortunately, baby doesn't cooperate during a photo shoot and flash those handsome smiles, like he does at his five in morning feedings!

 Big sister is trying to get him to cooperate here. She doesn't quite understand that he is not ticklish yet...and doesn't think this is lots of fun.

 Aren't we done yet, Mom?
 Here is all of our crew (minus me...somebody has to take the picture!) Our future farmers of America!
 I still haven't mastered the art of getting everyone to look at the camera at the same time. I think it might be a few years until this happens!

 Larissa took this shot of me and my papoose in his moby carrier. I really like this thing. It is a little awkward getting into it at first, but one you get the hang of it, it's great. And it's really good on my back. Which is kind of important!

 Running home. It seems like southeast Arizona hasn't gotten the memo yet that fall is here. It's still in the low 90s. But this was our morning. I cut off some cornstalks and tied them to my porch posts and we got some pumpkins the girls are going to paint. We don't carve here because it's still warm and the pumpkins just rot. Plus I have a lone chicken around who might decide to eat the pumpkin if it's carved and that would mean we'd have some disappointed chicks around here! I want to find some mums and marigolds to plant yet, and then maybe I'll show my fall display. Have I mentioned lately that I just heart fall?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Eight weeks

Really? Is he eight weeks already? I can't believe that the 5th of October he will be two months old. Time is just a flyin' by. And he is growing like a weed! And sleeping like a champ. Landon isn't sleeping through the night, but he is sleeping six to seven hours stretches, which is great. I am hoping by 12 weeks he'll be sleeping through the night.!!!!
So, what have we been up to? Well, we are in the midst of school. This year has been challenging. First grade is definitely harder then kindergarten and is taking more time, which my eldest gets frustrated about. She doesn't understand why she isn't finished yet, and it's only been an hour! Reading has been difficult, so I've backed off and we are doing Teach your Child to Read in 100 Easy lessons. I am teaching Alaina at the same time, so it's a lot of review for Larissa right now, but it's rebuilding her confidence, and she also gets to help "teach" her sister at the same time, which being a firstborn, any time you get to be in charge is AWESOME!
I rearranged my living room today. I know, I know. For those of you who know me personally, I can picture you rolling your eyes right now. I'm sorry, I can't help it!! I decided that since it's fall, I wanted a more cozy feel to the room.  And it's the first time I've rearranged in three months, so really, it was LONG overdue!
I was looking over my past posts and saw the one about being a no mom. I am really trying hard to be more of a yes mom. In fact, the other day Alaina asked if they could paint, and I said YES! They painted outside on the picnic table for a while. And then they wanted to make cookies and I said YES! And then they wanted to watch a video and I said NO! I have a love/hate relationship with the television. Does anyone else besides me get absolutely fed up with the trash on TV?  There is nothing on almost all of the time! And I would much rather have the girls outside, using their imaginations. I don't remember just sitting in the house as a child, glued to the television. There were more important adventures to be had outside. But when I try to verbalize my feelings to them, they just look at me as if I've last  my mind. Me?
Yes, sometimes I feel like I have lost my mind. Like this past Sunday, after church, driving to KFC, getting out of the truck and realizing that I had TWO different colored sandals on! I looked at Nate and asked him if he had noticed and he just started laughing and said no, he hadn't noticed. Of course I spent the rest of the day wondering if anyone at church had noticed but didn't want to embarrass me. You can't imagine my relief when my mother in law told me she hadn't noticed, and neither had another friend from church. Phew!
Well, I believe I've rambled on enough and I should go see what my kids are up to. HAPPY FALL YA'LL!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


I follow this mom's blog, and found this one very interesting, humbling, and convicting. I saw myself in some of these. What do you think?

Mama, Do You Like Your Children?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

We made it!

Yes, today marks six weeks since Landon was born. We have survived been enjoying this season so much! Actually, it all kind of feels like a blur. I forgot how hard it is the first six weeks. Now that my head is above water, usually, it's nice to start feeling normal again! Our little boy is usually getting up once a night, which is great, and he is becoming more content during his wake time, which is a HUGE relief. I know it's tough with three big sisters who just love him so much and just have a need to be within four inches of his little face. Over stimulation anyone? He's dealing......which I guess he really has no choice.
Anyhow, here is a picture of our little guy at six weeks of age....

he is getting so close to smiling on purpose!

Since this is mostly family who read this, I won't apologize for all the pictures!!! And here is one of Larissa at her ballet class. This is our new thing on Wednesday nights. I would have more, but she noticed me with the camera and became totally silly. Seriously. I know that's hard to believe. I guess I need to be more discreet.