Sunday, July 27, 2008

Here I Go!

Tonight, Asher discovered that he could ride Lucy's little riding toy down our driveway and pick up a lot of speed.

I started to video him and he wouldn't stop! He worked up quite a lather going up and down the hill over and over again.

If you get to the end of the video, you will get quite a treat!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Victory Garden

One day, I hope to have a large enough area to plant a Victory Garden.

For those of you that don't know what a Victory Garden is, this is what Wikipedia says about it:

"Victory gardens, also called war gardens or food gardens for defense, were vegetable, fruit and herb gardens planted at private residences in the United States, Canada, and United Kingdom during World War I and World War II to reduce the pressure on the public food supply brought on by the war effort. In addition to indirectly aiding the war effort these gardens were also considered a civil "morale booster" — in that gardeners could feel empowered by their contribution of labour and rewarded by the produce grown. Making victory gardens became a part of daily life on the home front."

Here is what I hope to do once we move:

• Find a spot in your yard that gets 6-8 hours of sunlight that is away from trees and shrubs.
• Till up a 4x8 section of dirt.
• Build a 4x8 box out of non-treated 2x6 boards and sink them into the tilled soil.
• Fill the box with 1/3 Compost, 1/3 Peat Moss and 1/3 Vermiculite.
• Grid it out in one foot squares. You can use string, wood strips, just something to keep you in the lines.
• Plant your garden. You will be amazed at how much food you can grow in a small area.
• Water using the runoff from your roof, unless you have an old tar or asbestos shingle roof. It will help prevent “storm water runoff” from going into our sewers, is chlorine free and will waste less water the Municipality treats for us to drink. The EPA estimates that 30-60 percent of urban fresh water is used to water lawns.

It has been really fun this summer to be home in order to water and keep up with the garden. The kids have had fun watching things grow and every night we have been picking blackberries on our nightly walk. I love this time of year!

One thing that I have learned with growing cucumbers is my grandmother's recipe for vinegar cucumbers:
1 cup water
1/4 cup vinegar
salt and pepper
a pinch of sugar

Matt's grandmother Nana also used this recipe. We both LOVE them. Now this is the only way our kids will eat cucumbers!

Fruits of My Womb

Earlier this summer, I planted just a small garden; three tomato plant and two cucumber plants. They are just now bearing fruit and I am so excited about it!

It has been enlightening. Since coming home from Young Life camp, I have been doing a journal that they provided to my high school friends and it has been really great. The journal spent a few days reflecting on "fruits of the Spirit" and "fruits of self or sin."

It was really interesting to me to see how the fruits of the Spirit work in us. See, I planted the tomatoes and cucumbers eight weeks ago and just now are they bearing fruit. You can see as the plant gets bigger that first it creates flowers to attract bees and bugs and then it gets pollinated and the pollinated flower creates fruit.

The tomatoes you can see getting bigger and you can watch it all happening. The cucumbers have been a complete surprise. I have been watering and watering and then all of the sudden one day, I had a huge cucumber! I couldn't believe it. Now, I have five cucumbers and more are on their way. It has been really fun!

I was journaling about all of this and reflecting on the fruits of the Spirit and I asked God if he would do that in my life as well. Give me hope by seeing fruit get bigger, make me patient by simply water plants without any fruit and then BAM! One day, a giant big 'ole fruit of the Spirit is developed within me without me even noticing!

One of the coolest things that I have read lately in agriculture that has also given me spiritual food for thought is this: The best way to prevent weeds is to have healthy plants. Healthy plants take up all of the nutrients in the soil so that there is not enough for weeds to survive. Again, I hope that this might be true in my life as well as in my garden.

Galatians 5:22-23
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law."

I love that, "against such things there is no law."

The little miss was being sassy this week and I just had to snap some pictures. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Best Tip of the Year

Sometime ago, I read that if you text Google (466453) with something that you want to look up, they will text you back with the answer.

On our way into Columbia last week, Matt was trying to find the phone number for a golf course, he called 411 and they couldn't figure it out. I texted google with "Charwood Golf Course."
30 seconds later, they texted me back with the address and phone number.

It was really easy. I am pretty sure that Google is going to take over the world.

But it's okay to buy into that if it helps you out! Try it, you'll like it!

Real Christians of Genius

This made me laugh since I already love the Real Men of Genius ad campaign...

Best Moment of this Past Weekend

Was watching my nearly 61-year old mother-in-law get up on a slalom ski behind a motor-boat on Lake Wateree.

I have cursed myself over and over for forgetting my camera at home.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Put the Passi in the Trashy

Asher turned three a few weeks ago and we have begun to sense that Asher is a little more addicted to his pacifiers than ever before. He only uses them when he sleeps, but every now and then you can find him sneaking into his room to get a quick suck and then drops it and keeps going.

So, before his third birthday we began to talk up leaving his pacifiers behind in two-year old land.
We bought a book, "Pacifiers Are Not Forever" and we have been reading it. On the final page it says, "So put the passi in the TRASHY!"

Yesterday, Asher decided to do it. We did not prompt or push. He wanted to put the paci's in the trashies. So we let him, in the outside herbie curbie. As he walked away he said, "Bye Bye paci's, I love you."
He really did.

Then we moved on and played the rest of the morning. Lunch time came and went and then it was nap time.

He began to ask for his pacifier. We told him they were in the trash and they were all gone. You would have thought that we had shot his puppy in front of him and asked him to dig the hole to bury it. Crying is not the right word. It was weeping, mourning and gnashing of teeth. He actually tore his clothes (just kidding).

But he really did cry a little mournful cry for about two hours until he fell asleep. After his nap, he woke up and cried for another hour. We tried to make it better with popsicles and Peter Pan.

But then Matt and I had a date scheduled. Against my better judgement we went on that date. We told Asher if he went to bed without much crying, Matt would take him on date to Waffle House tomorrow morning.

He actually did it! He went to bed without crying a lot.

But then he woke up 45 minutes later having had an explosive pooping episode that was all over his back, feet and then the stairs. Our sweet friend, Kristen Ashton had to clean him, the stairs and then the bathtub.

Of course, there was no way that Asher was going to go back to sleep until Mommy and Daddy came home. When we walked in the door, he burst into tears and said he wanted to go to the Waffle House. Matt took him to bed and he fell asleep, eventually.

When he walked into our room at 5:30 this morning crying and wanting to go to Waffle House. I got up and went to sleep on the couch. I couldn't take the crying much more and this whole thing was Matt's idea, so I let Matt deal with it. Asher fell back asleep pretty quickly after I left the bed. He and Matt went to the Waffle House first thing this morning and hopefully, the pacifier will begin to be a dim memory.

Just a quick tip in hindsight. Walgreens has these pacifiers that have Elmo, Cookie Monster and Big Bird. Don't buy these for your children. It felt like Asher threw his childhood friends away when he had to put Elmo in the trash.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A Haunting Thought

I have been reading a lot lately and I ran across a synopsis of Dante's Inferno. It says that Dante's version of Hell is "proximity without intimacy."

And it has made me wonder how much of my life has been spent working towards proximity without intimacy as a goal in my relationships? I have lived in a lot of places, left a lot of people behind and now I am trying to rebuild my brain because I want to avoid what Dante's Hell in my life.

I always wanted to be around people and be liked; but without being known and risking little.

Now, I am trying to reverse course and dive in the deep end with people rather than visit in the shallows.

I have realized that this is what I loved about my freshman girls at summer camp. They haven't been hurt too much yet. They just lived without covering their backs. But their sophomore year is waiting and friends will burn each other. By the time you are a senior, you try to say little and survive.

You go to college and want to be known, but be anonymous all at the same time. And then spend the next ten years trying to reverse what you have built because you recognize that you need friends; girlfriends, in this life.

I sure hope that I don't struggle with this for the rest of my life.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Destination July 2010

Matt and I set a goal to go to the Tour De France in two years.

Yesterday began the mountain stages and every day is high drama in the mountains of France.

So, we began to consider that Matt will have a summer long Sabbatical in two years from Young Life and we would love to abandon children and go to France for two weeks in two years. The dream is to camp/stay in hotels in the Alps waiting for the tour. Follow it for a few days and stake out a location on the Alp D'Huez to watch the most dramatic stage of the entire tour.

Then spend a few days kickin' it elsewhere and head to Paris to watch the final stage on the Champs Elysees.

I finally have a goal to save all of my pennies for something. Not just a rainy day. But a trip! A real trip!
Any donations to get us started? Feel free to start clicking on the ads on my blog in order to help us on our way. Every penny counts!

I know it is a nerdy sounding trip, but obviously we will enjoy France, Bastille Day and living the life of a Parisian during the biggest event of the year. I can't wait! Two years-ugh.

Final Thought of the Day

I have to go get a shower before my kids get up from their naps, but final thought of the day.

On our way from back from camp, we handed out sheets of paper and pens for kids to write themselves a letter about the week that they just had. We typically mail it to them around Thanksgiving just to remind them what they heard from God and what they discovered about themselves during camp.

It has been great year after year to hear from kids and how that letter helped them on their journey.

This year, we did the same thing and we had the kids self-address the envelopes.

Except that 75% of the trip, 48 kids did not know how to address the envelope. No, I am not kidding. They didn't know which side of the envelope the address went on. They didn't know where the city, state and zip went. They didn't know their own ZIP CODE.

It was honestly the first time in my life that I have thought about homeschooling my kids.
How, is a kid in honors classes going into their senior year of school going to survive without knowing how to address an envelope to another person?

I fear for the future.
Thanks George W. Bush for No Child Left Behind. It's working. No seriously. I love it, its perfect. For me to poop on.

Bus Trips

Since we got back last week from Saranac, I have had some time to reflect on our trip. We had a great time, but one of the funnier things that happened was, we let all of the kids get on and find their seats first. This resulted in all of the leaders sitting in the front of the bus. That is, all but one.

Poor Amy Berry was left to her own devices in the back of the bus, next to the boy who gave the great hair tip. Yes, poor Amy.

She sent Matt a text about 10 hours into the trip that read, "Hey, thanks Leaders in the front of the bus. I just woke up and my bus partner was brushing my hair. This trip is fantastic."

First off, it was funny that she sent us a text rather than coming up front to tell us.
Secondly, she is a few months pregnant and was on the trip with one high school girl and we let her be in charge of the back of the bus.
Third, waking up to anyone touching you on the bus is nasty. Someone brushing your hair? Creepy.

Texting is one of the best new inventions of the millenium. I am pretty sure that I could not be a leader without it. But on a bus trip? It was hilarious to see all of the kids texting each other, SEATS AWAY FROM ONE ANOTHER.

New Topics of Discussion

I have been using my handy little moleskin notebook to write down a few topics that I believe are worth blogging about but I don't have the time for some reason.

Right now, I have some time to catch up on those topics and so I am going to be blogging like a mad person today with all of my rants.

First up? McDonalds.
I love McDonalds only for its convenience. But for today, I am going to talk about their kids meals. First off, Chick-Fil-A beats them any day with their sanitizer wipes, fruit cups, trade in the toy for free ice cream and the mother of all winners, the stick to the table place mat. But, sometimes it is Sunday and Chik-Fil-A ain't open on Sunday and so McDonalds is necessary.

But I want McDonalds to answer me on why they believe that caramel dip with apples is a healthy alternative to fries. More than that; I want to know why they would even put it the dadgum dip in the bag with my kids food. On top of that, I want to know why my husband thought that it was a good idea to let our 18-month old daughter to dip her CHICKEN into the caramel dip.

Lucy actually turned into a candy apple head before my very eyes without eating a single bite of chicken and instead just sucking the caramel off of the nugget and reapplying the caramel.

This happened before we passed our kids off to my parents for the week. My dad looked at me and said, "Does she always eat like this?" with fear and trembling. Nope. She sure doesn't. But she will if McDonalds makes it an option. Preeshiate that MACDONALDS.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Virtual Tour

If you want to take a look at how our house looks after staging, take a look at this virtual tour!

JD Jackson website

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

How Different

Matt and I were talking yesterday morning about how nice it is that our kids are past the "crying all day long" stage. They really only cry when they are scared, hurt or in trouble now.

I had a feeling when we were talking about it that we should stop because it seemed to be a jinx; like when you don't talk about someone throwing a no-hitter when they are throwing one. It turned out I was right.

We were fixing dinner last night when Lucy slammed her fingers in the doors of our entertainment center. Not a big deal. But she decided that she needed to cry for an hour, inconsolable, sobbing, burping type of cry. The only solution was popsicles for dinner.

Once she calmed down, we took the kids for a walk. We have neighbors that have recently decided to raise chickens and they have a rooster that crows ALL DAY LONG. Asher loves it. So we walked over to see the free-range chickens and rooster. Asher was a little rowdy around the birds and we had him walk back down the road towards us, when he picked up a rock and threw it at the rooster.

Mr. Rooster did not like that at all. He attacked Asher and pecked him all over. Asher was running away, the rooster jumped on his back and was going to town. I ran towards Ash and kicked the rooster away. So he was crying for the next 30 minutes until he finally calmed down and laughed about it. Quietly.

We are hoping that this becomes one of his first FIRM memories from his childhood. We'll see.

As we were walking away from rooster times, Lucy fell on the road and lost her popsicle. Crying began again.

By 9pm, my ears were so tired from it all that I fell asleep on the couch after making cupcakes for Asher's birthday.

Yes, today is Asher's birthday. We had a great day with a few friends that came over to eat hamburgers and sing happy birthday. I will be writing a post to Asher, but it will have to wait until tomorrow because I am exhausted from throwing a three-year old birthday party!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

high school boy hair tip

One of the high school boys on our trip to Saranac gave me one of the greatest hair tips I have received.

He said, "Use conditioner BEFORE you shampoo. Let it sit for about 30 seconds, rinse and then shampoo. Your hair will be conditioned without being greasy."

It works like crazy!

Now why was a high school boy handing out hair tips? You had to be there.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Pinnacle Moment

Today it was our cabins turn to go parasailing. I am especially fond of this cabin ride since my best friend Robin met Jesus while on the parasail at Saranac.

Today was an amazingly beautiful day to take the girls out. It was 75, clear and sunny. We already had fun in the morning and were excited since we were the very last cabin in camp to get to go on the ride.We got out to our spot on the lake and groups of three were whisked away from the boat and we saw them laughing, screaming and just taking in the beauty that surrounds us.
As each group was pulled in, their faces revealed pure exhilaration. They loved it.
Since no other cabins were waiting to go on the ride, our boat drivers let us jump into the water, swim around, pull each other off of the boat, jump from the top of the ladder etc. Our girls were having a blast just being kids. No boys, no distractions, they were just kids again.

Soon, it was time to go and as we headed back towards camp; the boat surged and we were flying along the water. It was so loud that the girls lost all inhibitions and they began to sing. They sang without fear, without holding back, with everything they had. It was amazing to sit back and watch these girls as they experienced freedom. PURE freedom. It was a beautiful moment to watch them let go and be free, even just for a moment. Most of them have just finished their freshman year, with a few sophomores. The difference between a freshman and a sophomore would astound you. Regrets are different. The chip on their shoulder doesn't quite have the same groove yet. And it was great to see all of them return; even for a moment, to being a little girl.

I felt like the luckiest person in the world to watch it, experience it and love them. Also, I am sad for them because as soon as the boat rounded the corner to come back into camp; the singing stopped. Everything became quiet. The world returned and they had to enter back into it. Life is still incredibly safe and great at camp. But not nearly what it was on the boat out in the middle of the lake with just us girls aboard.

Tomorrow we will be leaving camp and many of the girls are anxious about what their lives will look like back home. The only hope that we have to offer them is this:

"If God is for us, who can be against us?"
Romans 8:31

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Camp Pictures

I found my camera cord today so here are some of the best from Days 1-3:

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Day O' Injuries

Today Matt and I both sustained injuries on the water weenie dock.
You heard me right, the water weenie dock.

At Saranac, they have a floating dock about 100 yards from shore. Attached to the floating dock is a 15 foot long inflated cylinder called the "water weenie." The point is simply to try to run to the end and fall into the water. We were running on it and I lost my balance about mid-point and fell onto the tube with my arm extended into the air and felt a popping sensation. Fantastic.

It didn't seem like a big deal and I moved on to wakeboarding, the giant slide and all the rest of the waterfront including SAILING!

Tonight, my whole side tightened up and I can no longer extend my arm above my shoulder at all.

Matt, meanwhile began to wrestle guys on the same floating dock. He lifted several at one time and reinjured his neck. He hurt his neck earlier this year pretty much doing the same thing and had to spend two months in the chiropractors office. Now he can't swivel his head back and forth.

Besides getting hurt, we are having the times of our lives. Our cabin got the canoe breakfast this morning and got to paddle to a nearby island in a giant indian canoe that holds 20 people at a time. It was beautiful and a great way to start off the day.

Thanks for praying and I will upload pictures soon, I SWEAR!