Monday, February 28, 2011

Art Appreciation

When I was a kid, I always hated tomatoes.
Texture.  Flavor.  Gross.

One day, when I was a teen, I was reading in a food magazine about tomatoes.
I read that for most people it is an acquired taste.
A tomato is something that can grow on you, like coffee or wine.
I decided then that I would try to learn the love of tomatoes.
For my first lesson, I went down to the farmer's market & bought a tomato.
I sliced it up, salted & peppered it.
I think I had this friend with me for encouragement.  She had good taste in food.
I ate it.
And, I loved it.
Lesson learned.
I still love them.

 Really, there were a lot of other things I disliked as a kid.
I was proud to have very specific tastes.
Like, somehow it made me really special to hate so many things.
I only thought dark brown hair was attractive (some self love there?).
I only liked a few flowers.  The rest were kind of "ugly".

And then, I guess I started to grow up a little bit.
Really?  A lily is ugly?

Maybe it was my (sinful) pride,
declaring a good portion of God's creation as not good enough for me.
It would glorify God to appreciate His handy work,
and it would bring me more enjoyment, too.

You know what?
Once I started looking to see what was beautiful,
instead of what was faulty, it wasn't that hard to appreciate more things.
I love seeing so much beauty.
It is everywhere.
There is nothing wrong with acquiring a taste for something (or someone).
Sometimes we just have to let go of our pride.

Maybe that means learning to get along with someone
who really grates on you
(& it seems so hard to see the good).
Maybe it means learning to be attracted to someone who looks different.
(That could include adopting a child who looks different
than you may have imagined your child would look.)
Or it may mean just embracing where God has you right now with contentment,
while you learn to see the beauty in it.

Have you ever seen attraction grow?
What have learned to see beauty in?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Basics of Sex

This is not a body science lesson.
Let's get to the heart of the issue instead.
I think the basics are things like -
love, honesty, vulnerability, trust, commitment, selflessness.
These are the basic tools you need to take with you to bed.
(But actually, you should try to keep them with you at all times.)

As I said the other day, my friend Linda has been blogging about sex.
I have been impressed by it.
She & I have conversed about it.
We've talked about problems & pain that many deal with in their marriages.
We've prayed about it.
We've read books about it.
I have wanted to be able to write about the subject.
But, it is scary.
Sex is powerful & it affects us SO deeply, either negatively or positively.
It is a delicate matter.  I might say something wrong.  I might hurt someone.
I don't want to.

I think that is the similar issue many couples face.
They don't know how to talk about it.
It is a delicate issue.
They don't want to hurt the other one.
They don't want to be hurt.
How do you even approach the subject?
It is scary.

But, the marriage bed should be a place of safety.
It should be a place where we can show love.
The kind of love that can cast out those fears.

Don't you think the scariest part is the uncovering of your heart?
Open, laid bare, naked.
What if you look foolish?  Needy?  Broken?
What will the other person think?

Can I tell you something?
My husband & I had a great honeymoon.
It was a great beginning for our oneness.
There was uncertainty.  There was learning.
There was pain.  There was patience.

We went to Ireland.  We got married on a Saturday.  We flew out on Monday.
We got off the plane in Dublin & went to the train station.
We barely made it onto the train in time, to head west to Galway.
On that train ride, my body gave us a little wedding present.
My period!
me in Ireland
This gift which was initially unwelcome.
But, it helped to teach us something.
We were learning to talk about hard things.
Things like sex & emotions,
male & female & being different from each other,
needs & understanding each other & the like.

the husband there, too

And it is a conversation we are committed to continuing in together.
We try to speak in love, with honesty.
The more vulnerable & selfless we are, 
the more trust there can be.

(The next good gift we got on our honeymoon
was when I lost my toiletries case on the bus.
Make-up free, hairy legs, smelly armpits,
This is who I am, baby!)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Show the Love

Love month is almost over.
(Don't worry.  I'm just calling it that.  I know we are called to love all the time.)

Here's a few things before February is over -

  *You've heard of the 5 Love Languages, right?  I have.
But, I'm too lazy to read the book.  Scott & I took the quiz, though.
Try it.  It's pretty neat.  Ask your spouse to take it.
See what you learn about yourself & each other.
We happened to both get the same top two.  I guess we're "lucky".
I think I like to show love & receive love in all 5 ways.
(I'm greedy like that.  I want it all!)
But, some definitely affect me on a much deeper level.
The point, of course, is to be sensitive to those you love
& show them love the way they understand it & need it.

  *I downloaded a marriage evaluation from this blog -
Passionate Homemaking.  See it under point 4 on this post.
The document is called The State of our Union.
Check is out.  It is much more involved than the little quiz above.
I've only read it over.  We've haven't worked on it yet.

  *Go over to my friend Linda's blog.
Take her little quiz on the top on the left sidebar.
She has written a number of good pieces on the topic of sexuality.
Check them out.  She has a lot of wisdom.   And she writes thoughtfully.

*Danielle at Take Heart has been posting
Love Stories for the whole month of February.
I think that is so precious.
(Really.  I really do.)
I haven't managed to read all of them yet.
But, I am inspired to write our love story out.
I don't know if I'll manage to get it written down before the end of this month.
Especially since I would like it to be a he said, she said story.
I don't know if my husband will get a chance to write his part that fast.
But, writing my desires (for the story to be written by both of us)
on my blog, instead of talking to him in person,
seems like a good way to pressure him.
I mean, wait...  maybe manipulation isn't the right way.
I may have just blown my chances.

*If you don't already do, I encourage to try to Embrace the Camera.  
What is that, you ask?
It is getting on the other side of the camera.  
You know all the photos you take of your loved ones?  
Get into the picture with them.
They all want to remember that you were there, too.

Today Moira & I are snuggling in bed & she is giggling about kisses.  

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Son of Mine

Peyton Michael, 3 years old.

This boy is way too cute for me.  
I could not pick only a few pictures for this post.

Our boy - sweet, sensitive & snuggly.
You are the first one to wake up every morning.
You climb in our bed for a morning snuggle.
All day long you say to us, in your cute, deep voice, "Um...  I love you."

look at that face!!

You are a good brother to your sisters.
You love to serve them & help them out.
And you love to tease them & "push their buttons". 
(Like any good brother, right?)

Your wish list includes a tractor, a motorcycle, a boat & "diver man" gear.

As of now, you want to be a Raspberry breeder when you grow up.
Just like your Daddy.

Our plan has been for you to give up your bottle at age 3.
Last night, you were suddenly rather hesitant to become a three year old.
It's hard to grow up.  
(But it might be harder on Mommy to watch.  
I love seeing you with your morning bottle...)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

3 Weeks Ago

We got to meet this sweet little girl.

Today she & I spent some time with the self shoot timer button on my camera.

I love how Peyton got in on this one.  Cutie face!

Mommy loves you, Kendall.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Lessons from my Newborn

Slow down.  Life is short.
The nights sure feel long.
And sometimes the days feel long, too.
But, the years pass by way too quickly.

When we look at little Kendall, and think of 
when the others were little snuggie babies,
we remember how quickly these moments pass.

I don't want to just enjoy the newborn days of my little Kendall.  
I want to enjoy the young years that all of my kids are in right now.
I know I can never get them back.

I have been pretty much home for the last three weeks.
And, you know what?  I like it.
I want to stay home more often.
Drag the kids around on errands less often.
Besides, I am little afraid of going grocery shopping with all of them right now.
Staying home gives us more time to play together.
It also makes it so much easier for me to do the house work.

I cooked my first complete meal in a while, yesterday for valentine's day.
I had the kitchen cleaned before I started.
I've been working on it this morning.
But, I still have a ways to go.
I think I should start embracing the crock pot,
and other 1 pot meals. 

Here's the big decision.
I am "closing" my flower business.
Or, taking a big, long break from it.
I still love flowers & floral arranging & wedding & all.
I'd still love to have an occasional job for friends.
But, I am tired of taking phone calls from strangers (customers).
I don't want to try to make the sale.
And, I don't want to try to grow the business.
My heart is not in it.
Ultimately, the business is not aiding our family toward our goals at this point.
So, I am stopping it for now.

I want to focus.  I've got 4 babies.
Eliminating stress points make life with little ones much better.

We've got walks to take, books to read, neighbors to meet...
We've got character to work on, good habits to learn, friends to love...
We've got work to do on advocating for orphans, loving them 
I still love flowers.  But, we've got other things to do right now.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Love School

We've been doing a bit of love "school" work this week.
We got this book on Saint Valentine from the library.

We are practicing signing our name,
as we fill out our valentine cards for our loved ones.
(The kids picked out their valentine's cards from Grocery Outlet.
99 cents for 32 cards!)

We hung our decorations & I am planning our Valentine's dinner.

I wrote out part of 1 Corinthians 13 for them.
They traced hearts around the word Love & decorated the paper.
As they colored I told them how this was a verse about love.
We were going to learn a song about it & practice it & learn how to love.

While the project was going, I turned to help Moira with something for a minute.
Gillian used that brief time as an opportunity to color on Peyton's paper.
Why?!  I was so irritated.  I shouted at her & sent her to her room.
I told her she should have known better...
I felt awful.  I totally lost my temper over something super stupid.
And, I knew what was coming next.
We were going to be talking about what love means.
And I was the negative example.
I called her to come back with us & we read the bible verse...

"Love is patient, Love is kind, 
it does not envy or boast, 
Love is not proud or rude;
It's not self-seeking, 
or easily angered,
It keeps no record of wrong..."

Mommy was just an example of not showing love...
My kids all struggle with the "easily angered" part.
I don't really wonder why.

I need to go to love school.

Jesus, give me patience for my little ones.  
Teach me how to love them.
I want to be quick to listen to them, 
and slow to get angry with them.
Your grace is enough for me to be able to show them grace.
I "know" this Bible verse by heart.
I want it to be firmly rooted there in heart, 
so that I live this real love to them.
I certainly can't do it alone.  
Real love only comes from Jesus.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

j is for jellyfish - preschool lesson

We read a couple Jellyfish books.

They had good photos.
Facts we learned about the Jellyfish - 
  • they are mostly made of water.
  • they have no brain, heart or bones.
  • the smallest jellyfish can be smaller than a penny.
  • the biggest can grown as long as a blue whale!
  • most jellyfish live in the ocean
  • their bodies are called "bells".
  • They have a mouth under their bell & tentacles that hang from the bell.
  • Jellyfish feel soft & gooey & are covered with mucus.
We read a book called Ooey Gooey ABC's. 
There were a bunch of other mucus covered critters in there.  

Then we made some Ooey Gooey Putty ourselves!

The recipe is simple  
Mix 1/2 cup hot water in 1 bowl with 1/2 Tablespoon of Borax
Mix 1/2 cup water in a bigger bowl with 1/2 cup (4 oz.) Elmer's Glue

Mix borax/water into the glue/water.
Add a little food coloring.
Stir & stir.  Squish & knead.
It will be separate & clumpy for a while & super slimy.  
Keep going & soon you can take it out of the bowl & play with it.

Play with it in the kitchen, though.
You won't want to pick it out of the carpet.

We read a cute story book that still teaches facts about Jellies -
Jenny Jellyfish.

We were in the midst of Jellyfish school when Kendall was born.
Daddy took the big kids to the Monterey Bay Aquarium one morning 
while Kendall & I rested at home.
The Jellies exhibit there is gorgeous!
But, it was hard for daddy to get a good photo 
while guiding 3 littles through the crowds.

*  I came across this Jellyfish photo from 3 years ago & had to add it.  
Check out Gillian's hair!*

We colored this Jellyfish picture with watercolor pencils 
& then painted it with water.

We did letter tracing & bean bag toss with letter j.

Words we came up with - 
  • jet
  • jungle
  • jacket
  • jump
  • jello
  • jam
  • jelly
  • jaguar
  • jingle
  • jiggle
  • jogging
  • just
  • jewels
  • junk

Monday, February 7, 2011

Valentine's Past - Quilled Hearts

"If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were loved by wife, then thee;
If ever wife was happy in a man,
Compare with me, ye women, if you can."
Anne Bradstreet

This is my favorite valentine that I've made so far.  
Quilling is fun & not very hard. 
It is a little, tiny bit tedious.
I did make this before I had little ones running around.
You don't need fancy tools.  
But, it is a little easier if you do have one of these.

She has a tools list there, too.
But, if you check out the comment section, 
there a good alternatives to buying special tools.

Don't forget about the Love Dare.  
Today, day 7 is "Love Believes the Best"

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Valentine's Past - Bok Choy Rose Stamp

"Doubt thou the stars are fire, Doubt that the sun doth move, 
Doubt truth to be a liar, But never doubt I love."
-- William Shakespeare ("Hamlet")

Rose Stamp - made with Bok Choy stumps

These are super simple.

All you need is Bok Choy
& an ink pad or paint.

Cut the Bok Choy down to a stump about 2 inches tall, or so.
(You can still eat all that cabbage you cut off, of course.)
Set cut side down on a towel to let it dry a little bit.

I used an ink pad for mine.
But, I just googled Bok Choy stamps & found this post.
They used paint.  It looks super cool.

Give it a try, with or without kids!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Valentine's Past - Lace Print

Ruth 1:16-17
"...where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge.
Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.
Where you die, I shall die, and there I will be buried."

I'll be posting some valentine's of years past, for your inspiration this coming week.

I made this one with lace & paint.
I got the directions from my Martha Stewart Mag 2007 (I think)
I can't find an online link though...

Tools you will need - 
a hard surface, clean surface that can painted - like a piece of glass
a rubber roller - here's mine -

Scraps of Lace or Doilies

Lay your lace out on the glass & roll it evenly with paint.
Clean your roller.
Lay the lace gently on your paper & roll it evenly to print your stationary.

Ta da!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Getting Ready for Love Day - Love Dare

I love Valentine's Day.
Love it.
I am getting ready for it.

Here's a little Love Dare Challenge for all us .
Go check it out & join in.
Today's challenge is to not be selfish!
Tomorrow - thoughtfulness.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Child is Born

January 27th

A recalling of birth.  
There are not too many gory details written here.
But beware, I do speak of cervix dilation.

I woke up at 5:30 that morning.  
I had a sore abdomen, like maybe I had been working out.  
I figured I must've been doing some contracting.  
And, I still was.
I got up to see if things would carry on & they did.  
I figured this was it.
Our house was a total wreck.  So, I got to work cleaning.
Typical early labor stuff.

I had my regular doctor check up scheduled for that morning.
That was handy.  
In my early days of motherhood, 
I had been known to go to the hospital too early.
(The hospital sent me home a few times the week before Gillian was born.)
I live in a family of folks who never forget.  
You know, they have a hard time believing that I am in labor, 
since I have a "history" of not knowing.
(I knew though.  I am older now.  Less anxious.  I am in tune.  Just believe me.)
I told Dr. Diana my suspicions of early labor.
She said I was right & suggested we make our way to the birthing center.

So, we did.

Labor progressed normally over the next couple of hours.  
(What exactly that means, I'm not sure.  
Labors are all different, but they are still normal.

When the pain started to increase, I got in the big bath tub.  
I still was barely at 5 cm.  
This bath, I thought, would be the magic ticket.
It seemed to be for my labors with Peyton & Moira.
For 20 minutes in the tub during Moira's labor, 
I went from 5 cm. to 8 cm.

This time, I felt like labor had changed a good deal while I was in the tub.
This was good.  They checked my progression - a little over 5cm.
I felt like I was in transition.  But a 5 didn't sound promising at all.

Things kept moving.  Scott kept encouraging.
I was praying for strength & a healthy baby.

I thought I had to be almost there.
The doctor checked.
6 cm.
She said, "Not too much longer!  You are doing great!"
I said, "What?!  You mean like, a few more hours, right?"
She said, "Maybe not."

This was now coming to the point where I didn't think I could go any farther.
But, labor doesn't work like that.  You can't go back.  
You can't quit.
(I am big quitter during exercise & all that.  I just stop when it gets hard.)
I did not choose to think positively.  
(Isn't that supposed to help you through labor?  I never do that one.)
I kept saying I couldn't do it anymore.
Scott kept telling me he knew I could.
(Everyone needs someone to believe in them.)
The impossible stage didn't last more than 30 minutes.

It was truly shocking how quickly Kendall was born in the last moment.
And it was shocking how huge she was.
8 lbs. 9 oz.seemed ginormous.
Everyone kept exclaiming how giant her umbilical cord was.
I just held my baby & tried to catch my breath.  

The birth seemed rather uneventful, with nothing special to report.  
Oh, except the amazing event of birth & life.
(Isn't that the way much of life is?  
So many of God's good & glorious gifts are what we call just normal, everyday life.)

Baby was born just before 6pm.
That meant all the siblings had enough time to come see her 
before their own bedtime.
Grandma brought them down, all bathed & in pj's.  
They were so excited & proud.

I got to rest at the birth center for a while.
I was a tad bit bored at times, with so much quiet.
The John Masters Organics toiletries I packed for a gift to self did not disappoint.
I loved them.  Get a product yourself & see what I mean.
The Blood Orange & Vanilla lotion - luxury.

I was glad when it was time to come home. 
But, I have to admit, I really (really, really) miss the ice chip maker machine.
Ice chips plain, 
ice chips with Dr. Pepper, ice chips with cranberry juice, ice chips with water.
That is on the top of my wish list.  (Though, I have no idea where to find one.)
Can you imagine having an ice chip machine at your own house?

We are happily adjusting to having 4 littles around.
All 3 of the older siblings love their baby.