A little housekeeping


I decided that I would pop back over here for a quick housekeeping message. I’ve had a few glitches pointed out to my new blogging space, Becoming Kindred. I think that I am slowly getting them worked out, including the subscribe by email, and I made a few notes over there explaining them. I do hope that you will honor me with your presence over there. And please, if something isn’t working right,  would you mind taking a minute to let me know? I don’t actually fix any technical stuff but it is really handy that I have my own personal tech guy who squeezes my requests into his spare time.

For the time being, I will leave this up because I’m finding that the format of my old posts have been really messed up and I don’t know when I will ever have a chance to fix them. Also, I know that many of my recipes and tutorials have been pinned to Pinterest and I never like it when I have pinned something but find it gone when I go back to it.

Also I have joined a 31 days of blogging challenges and so I or guests will be blogging every day for the month of October. I am actually finding it quite a challenge and I am only into the third day!

Come on over to www.becomingkindred.com!

 

www.becomingkindred.com

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I’ve wanted to make some blog changes for some time now. Partially because what I have been using to post with hasn’t been very user friendly for me but also because my little space here no longer seems to fit.

When I began writing here, it was when I was still in the processing stage of being a new mother. My blog name reflected that stage of my life. Now as a mother to my three girls, I find myself in a different stage and I find myself wanting to share my writing from a different perspective.

I am very dedicated to my role as mother as well as the other roles that I have been given and have chosen in this life. I am a wife, mother, sister, friend, neighbor. I am also a child of God; a follower of Jesus.

I’ve written from each of those perspectives here but now I want my writing space to reflect that more clearly.

I also have found this space to be a place of connection and community that has been most encouraging and I want to thank each of you for that. That is something that I hope to continue.

And so friends, I’m hoping that you will join me in my shift of space. I know practically that can be a pain sometimes but I’m hoping that it can be quite smooth for you to follow me to my new digs. This will be my last post here but as I didn’t want to lose the content from here it has all been transferred over although it may take a while for me to tidy it up. I have a few more thoughts on this change but I will wait to share them over there.

Please join me in my new place; www.becomingkindred.com.

Enjoying Art

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I’ve been impressed for a long time but lately, I have been finding Aneliese’s drawing and painting pretty amazing. Maybe because those are a form of art in which I do quite poorly. So while I enjoy that kind of art and fill my mind with all kinds of pictures that I would like to paint, I’m not pretending that I am judging her art from a very critical standpoint. I mostly just love see her quietly working away and then seeing what she has come up with.

These are a few of my favorites from this week:

- I walked into the living room and she had the little pink girl sitting there while she drew her.

- We were watercolor painting together when Dan came in. He looked at us and said with a chuckle that Aneliese was going to show me up. She did.

- I came in from doing the chores this morning and Aneliese had finished this picture that she was working on. I just love how happy this little person looks. And the detail is so fun, balls for shoulders, fingers, and toes inside the shoes. If you look closely, she included a belly, belly button, and knees underneath the clothes.

It’s also really intriguing to watch her art grow from a developmental perspective; did you know that one of the ways that they observe children developmentally is by their drawings of people?

I’ve thought before about wanting to take an art class or two, just so that I have a basic understanding of how to paint especially and watching Aneliese has made me really want to do that. But maybe if I wait long enough, she will just teach me!

 

September 26th


I snuggled her in my arms, breathing in her baby scent and feeling her soft breath as she practiced her new skill of gently blowing on my face while falling asleep. As I whispered of my love and the blessing of our dear Jesus over her, my heart remembered. For today was to have been the birthday of our little baby unknown. It has been on my mind for days but oddly today I had forgotten until about midday. My heart and body hadn’t forgotten as I wondered at the feeling of unshed tears and my arms felt empty even while I hugged my three daughters until partway through the day it struck me that it was September 26th. I no longer grieve frequently for that wee little baby who left my body while yet unformed but how I sometimes miss that little one. We passed the first birthday hidden away in a little cabin, just Dan, Aneliese, and I with another little heart (Cecily)beating under mine. I don’t need to figure out the logistics, what matters is that just as a mama’s heart always has room to love ‘one more’, so does it have room to morn and miss one less. Sometimes, when I am missing that little one, I wish that I had had more time. One little movement, having heard the heart beat before it ceased, or knowing if the babe that we loved was a boy or girl; sometimes I long for just one of those things. Something other than helplessly having my baby leave my body and the memory of the sad emptiness of an ultrasound image. Often those who grieve silently or stoically are said to be strong, but I see strength in open expression of sorrow as well. I grieve deeply yes, but I also love deeply. Those brief weeks and the empty weeks that followed changed my life; that tiny, tiny life enlarged my heart. And so today, I am missing my little one and I am honoring that brief little life. With my words, tears, aching arms, and a heart full of love.

Of Late

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September has flown by faster than I can believe. It’s fall, glorious fall, and my favorite season! The crisp, cooling air brings such refreshment and renewed life. So good. I have fifty billion things that I want to talk about but hardly know where to begin so how about a little life catch up.

It has been slightly busy around here. At the end of August, Dan made the brave step of going full-time with his photography and design business. A little daring, a lot scary but the right decision. He has been meeting different people who are interested in what he offers and being his usual friendly self has gained him some surprising work. And he landed a photography job that is kind of a big deal in terms of getting his foot in the door for the direction that he wants to go in. I’m proud of him. Starting a business isn’t easy and most would agree that it is really tough here. And he still manages to take time to pretend to be a turtle hiding with his girls.

Our girls are precious. I could stop there but I can’t.

Aneliese is just blossoming these days. I love it. She is becoming more willing all the time to express herself and to let us see what is happening in that mind and heart. She is also doing so many new things…like teaching herself the alphabet. I love her.

Cecily is at the most perfectly fun age. We have concluded that she is a storybook kid. Her thought processes are so funny, her facial expressions so…vivid, and her word choices just make us laugh. You would love it.
Kathleen is a sweet, sweet girl. She is so affectionate and absolutely loves us all. We were finally able to confirm that she has an eye condition (congenital esotrophia) and will need surgery, possibly a few to get both of her eyes working at the same time. We are thankful though because initially, they felt that she had already had some permanent loss of sight and further exams have shown that she doesn’t. She has recently started crawling which is so great because it was thought that her mobility may be affected by her eyesight.

Me? Oh well, since you asked. I sometimes have this feeling that I am caught up in a whirlwind of babies, husband, animals, house, yard, garden, laundry….Sometimes I feel like I am doing it all quite well, thank you very much. and then there are all those other times when I ask myself, And just how do other women do this exactly?

And I’m kind of really excited because I have some blog changes coming up. So maybe I am really excited! It’s kind of like have a journal for a few years, there is still space but you are just ready to move on and make a fresh start with one that fits better. Especially because Dan is making it more user friendly for me. I enjoy this form of writing but just don’t always have time to figure it out. I also have my own computer again as Dan got to the point of needed another one for his work. We now can spend quality time in the evening side by side working on our computers. Cute.
And that is us right now in a nutshell. Oh, but first one more picture.This is another one of Dan’s business ventures, a portable photo booth. We test ran it at a friend’s birthday party. So much fun!

Fly Lady Style

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I’ve been revamping my organizing/cleaning style of late.

What used to work just hasn’t been working any more. You might say that it has been a slow painful death of my doing things the way I always did them. Since my very first university days on my own, I have always scheduled specific tasks for certain days. One day, I might do all the laundry, another I might deep clean the bathroom, and another wash all the floors. When I organize, I tackle one large project at a time.

Between children, animals, and any number of things that may accompany them, I am finding that laundry is never ending, cleaning needs to be done more frequently in interrupted segments if it is to be done, and if I take on a big organizing project, I will only end up with more mess.

Enters FlyLady….In a moment of “I have got to figure something” out, I asked a friend for suggestions and she sent me the flylady link. I haven’t read much so I’m not and out and out follower of her methods. Yet. But within minutes of browsing the site, I had three helpful tools that are significant to me. I’m only going to share two right now, just to save space.

One: Do a load or two of laundry daily.

From start to finish including being put away. Fold directly from the laundry and place it where it goes (doesn’t matter that it may currently be a corner of our bedroom floor for the time being). So simple, so silly, so works for me.

Two: The bathroom swish and swipe.

This is was a light bulb moment for me and I’m not joking. I used to scrub the bathroom once or twice a week…unless I didn’t get to it. It worked fine until the littles came along with their newly acquired independence in doing potty on their own, brushing their teeth, and washing their hands; things just haven’t been staying or smelling very…fresh. My sensitive nose prefers for my house to smell nice, including the bathroom. So with the flylady advice of giving the toilet a swish and everything else a swipe, I came up with a plan and gave it a test run. We have one and a half bathrooms, full bath upstairs and half bath down. For my test run, I put my bottle of all purpose cleaner and some rags in the full bath. Every single day for a week and a half, I spent about a minute giving it a quick clean. The half bath, well, it got cleaned once. The difference? I thought about cleaning both but the cleaner was upstairs in view so that is the one I cleaned. Every time I planned to clean the downstairs bathroom, I would get distracted.

Enter my bathroom cleaning basket!

a bright red bucket for three dollars, a small $1 spray bottle filled with all purpose cleaner, an recycled jelly jar for the scrub, old cut up t-shirts.

Neatly in plain sight for I and any other family member to give a quick clean.
This is our half bath that once was a closet.

Upstairs, I repurposed an old peach basket (Thanks, MomIL!) to hold cleaners, rags, rag bucket, and some garbage bags (grocery bags from those times when I so irresponsibly forget my cloth bags but console myself that they will see dual purposes) (Said grocery bags are knotted until use as a safety measure for children)

And voila! My bathrooms have both been cleaned. I put about a weeks worth of rags and have the bucket to toss the used one in until I throw them in with a load of towels. I start with the mirror, give everything a quick spray of my all-purpose cleaner and wipe down everything, ending with a quick swish of the toilet with the toilet brush and a wipe of the outside before tossing the rag in the bucket. I use the tub & toilet scrub on days when I have a little extra time or they need a little deeper clean. The cleaners are entirely safe for kids to use so even Aneliese has given the bathroom a wipe down.

There, don’t you feel as if we have arrived at a new level of friendship because you know how I clean my bathroom?

And finally…I do believe that I have found the perfect apron at the thrift store to ensure my success in housekeeping endeavors. Not only is it handmade, it has pockets and ruffles (both signs of a dedicated house wife.), AND it is full length. WITH a bottom ruffle. I can feel myself improving daily as I wear it.What are your best quick cleaning tips?

Speaking of Parenting…

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What would you do?

Aneliese decided to practice her letters on the cupboard door. They were beautifully done. I couldn’t help but acknowledge that to her after she said that she had done it (obviously, but it’s surprising how hard it can be to be truthful) and before I had her tell me where the appropriate place to practice her letters was. After we got that all figured out, she went to work.

Parenting 101 (or something like that)


Kathleen is a moving machine these days and seems to get into more things than the other two combined. In many ways she is like Cecily and Aneliese; a surprising combination of calm and crazy. By that I mean all of them have been/are very active in that they even as babies were seldom still after the initial quiet and cuddly newborn weeks. They aren’t babies or children who just snuggle in for long cuddles (unless we are reading stories) and yet, until now they have never really gotten into things. Boundaries have been fairly easily established as to what should and shouldn’t be touched, our houses have never seen or needed plug covers or door latches, and while anything dangerous or really breakable has been put up high, most things are freely played with or handled. I say until now because while it may be our lack of cupboard doors, Kathleen seems to enjoy pulling things out. It may be that I now have two older ones making little messes that are left around but I find myself scooping “treasures” out of her mouth regularly. She may be following the example set by her sisters, but she is pulling her self up on to things and attempting to climb sooner than I expected. I’m certain that she will tackle the stairs if I leave any where near them (I don’t).

I was told once that until you have had three children, any parenting advice or philosophy that you may offer is only theory, it hasn’t been tried and tested. So, now that I have three, I will be offering my excellent parenting opinions regularly…okay, maybe not. Really, I am kidding about offering advice but for myself personally, I have found that my parenting has been rounding itself out. I may throw people off with my confidence! Or maybe just myself.  I’m not sure when it happened but shortly after Kathleen was born, I stopped second guessing every-single-parenting-decision that I made. Perhaps because I didn’t have time to think about everything so much or possibly because just the fact that I had three little bodies which I was responsible for mustered up new confidence in me.

Now, before you start thinking that I think I am now super mama, the perfect parent, or have all the answers, allow me to assure that I have gained confidence, not become delusional. It’s just that sometimes  most of the time I felt like I was a time bomb just waiting to explode into a permanently mess up my kids disaster. I worried when I expected too much. I worried when I was too lenient. I wondered if I was expressing love the way they needed it. I thought perhaps I was too structured. But then, maybe I was too relaxed? Were my own personal struggles negatively affecting their childhood? I wondered daily if I was way off base on how I dealt with their personalities.  Was I demonstrating what it meant to be a balanced, contributing life? Did I have the parenting intuition to offer them what they needed to be healthy human beings?

The fact is that I think each of my questions and concerns were valid; I will likely ask myself them from time to time. I don’t have any doubt that there are many things that I can and should change or improve on. What has changed is that I own my imperfect parenthood. I don’t excuse myself on poor parenting and I don’t downplay the awesome task that I have in the lives of each of my daughters. I just know that I am deeply committed to being a mother and in that I walk confidently. I am committed to giving them the best that I can each day even when that best looks pretty low quality compared to other days. I also know that I know my daughters better than any book, philosophy or opinion ever will. I know when they need my hands gently holding their arms or chin as I speak to them (I daily remind myself that my hands must be gentle). I know when the very best thing for them in that moment is some alone time in their room. I am well aware that even if our kids make us look really, really good in public, our girls have, um, strong personalities (this really is a good thing). I know that sometimes the way I can best love them is to let them pick the unripe apples off the tree. I understand that no liking good bye isn’t being rude but is sad enough that she would rather just wave and call goodbye while they pull out of the yard. I know that there are times when I communicate clearly and fairly yet they still make a poor choice that requires follow through. I can see by the shutters over those brilliant blue eyes when my words have damaged. I know some things are great in theory, worked well when there were two but are unrealistic with three. I know when my well-researched philosophies on education need to bend a little because a little four year old is longing to play school with a teacher the way other kids do. I know that letting them choose their own clothes receives raised eyebrows sometimes but that they are growing confident in their individuality. I know the little unique ways that my girls like to be told that they are special and valuable and important. I know that they need to know now and always that I love them but that I also really, really like them. I know that while they don’t pray as I might have expected they would, they understand God in deep ways.

I know my daughters and I know myself. Yet, I still mess up. Every single day. I say that I am sorry and that I was wrong. I feel resentful that I have to referee another sisterly clash when they should just get along. Oh, I am far from perfect. And I’m not alone on my journey as a mama. I have shadows of good and bad that follow me. I have loads of healthy and wise advice from those who have traveled this road before me, from those traveling at the same time, and from those whose advice and opinions make it to print. And I walk each day with an equally committed and equally acknowledged imperfect (but amazing in my books) Daddy. Days are filled with breathed prayers asking for wisdom, sensitivity, love, and patience.  Friends, I’m not going to offer you parenting advice and I don’t really think that you need three to become a confident parent even if it seems that the third helped me turn a corner. I’d like to offer this if I may; own your parenting both the good and the bad.

Acknowledge the good and commit to improving the bad. Read and listen to others but know your kids and yourself. Let go of what you have to and cling tight to what you need to. And thanks. Thanks to each of you who has encouraged me along this road of life. May I also do the same for you when I can.

Shoes & Photo Contest

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Shoes are the one thing for the girls that I usually buy new. Often I decide that I am going to buy used the way that I do for their clothes but then spend far too much time unsuccessfully trying to find shoes that fit well and that they walk well in.

One children’s shoe company that I have been very happy with is Livie & Luca. The shoes are great quality, fit well, and are SO cute! But they are not cheap. So I was excited to see that they were holding a photo contest where the two grand prizes are shoes for a year. That would be amazing!

So this morning Photographer Dan joined us in our usual morning routine of caring for the animals. Cecily was her usual animal loving self as she fed her chickens while crooning, “here chickie little” as she fed them. He got so many cute shots that we had a hard time deciding which one to submit.

I just have to share a couple of our favorites but you will have to click on the link to see the final choice! And I will shamelessly ask you to vote for her photo:)! Pleeeaase….thanks!

Where will your Livie & Luca’s take you today?

Creepy Crawlies


Mostly I really like having my own garden and it is so satisfying to eat a meal that we grew ourselves. Today we harvested our first broccoli and ate it steamed and buttered for lunch. We were all enjoying it thoroughly with the girls punctuating each bite with “mm” and “this is so good” and “can I have some more?”. And then Dan suddenly stopped eating and looked a little grossed out. One caterpillar, two, three, four and then, five and six. Nicely steamed while they perched within the broccoli florets.

I had given a quick glance throughout as I was washing but I didn’t know what I was looking for really. Those babies blended in well. I forced myself to get over and finish mine, Dan took one bite and said he was done, and the girls just forged on ahead an kept eating. The chickens enjoyed six steamed caterpillars.

Don’t worry if you ever eat at my house, I now will look more thoroughly. And really, bugs are the cost of small scale, no spray farming. I’ll have butter on those bugs please!

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