Monday, August 29, 2011

Happy 3rd Birthday Nater Mater!!

I can't believe it's here already!
My last baby has left babyhood behind and has reached full toddler hood
(In many senses of the word)
He's 3!

Three years ago this very hour I was getting ready to go in for the C-section that I was completely terrified of.
My planned At-Home-Water-Birth-Baby decided to change things up on us a bit.
But either way, we were given the sweetest, funniest, curliest haired little bundle of a boy.

And, he is ALL BOY!
Cars, Trucks, DIRT (especially dirt), rough and tumble (he can now beat up big brother who used to sit on him...he he), puppies, kitties and lots of bugs are what make up the happiness of his sweet little life.

He has the worst sweet tooth of my four kids.
Bring on the sugar baby!
(Disguised for his allergic little system in fruit and sweet veggies).

His LOVE affair with water confounds me.
No Fear!!!

Lightning McQueen at a pool party...
totally fits with this child.

And here are some sweet pictures thrown in for good measure just because he is so darn cute.

Happy 3rd Birthday sweet boy!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


I was recently loaned Ann Voskamp's book one thousand gifts (If my computer would allow me to link I would, but it quit about a month ago letting me do links); Google and get it.

I think it may be one of the keys towards me letting go of some things I've been holding onto:






I've only made it through the first 4 chapters, but they have already been transforming in my thinking.

A vital key to unlocking the depression that has plagued me off and on my whole life and especially these past three years:


Yes, thankfulness

She knows of what she writes. She knows pain, heartache, misunderstanding, rejection, loss and depression.

She knows the desire for more and the knowledge of the Word, but I think she is going to put the practical into the joy that I can take with me and practice on a daily basis.


I've heard this word before. I've never really heard it explained...or I wasn't ready to receive and listen.

Giving Thanks

The how has escaped me so many times when life gets tough.

My first reaction is to whine and complain.

It's an ugly and unloving reaction that poisons myself and those around me.

The how to give thanks when life seems cruel: pain, rejection, scraping by day after day, month after month, year after year when I perceive others to have more, loss of life, loss of friends, just plain loss.

I've learned to live with this. I just haven't learned to live very well.

My parents taught me that hard is a part of life. It is.

But how do you practice and live a life of joy?

I remember them talking about thankfulness and joy.

My naturally emotional and melancholy nature didn't listen with ears tuned in.

I remember my mother at Thanksgiving with the table set pretty; the linen napkins out of the closet and gracing the table, the carefully and lovingly created nameplates above every place setting. The tiny kernel of corn on every plate that symbolized what we were most thankful for that year.

Some years I think I got it.

Thankful for the life of my baby brother when we all waited wanting to give him our bated breath to fill his too tiny lungs.

Thankful for my dad still at his seat at the table after months of doctors, hospitals, illness, tears and the thinking this new un-heard of disease was the end of our family as we knew it.

But in the really, in the front of my mind I still questioned and railed against the perceived injustices and loss that came with all that.

The loss of stability when the already crazy hormones of my growing body was telling me to grow up and leave the favorite dolls and stuffed animals I still loved and talked too.

The loss of stability at home with too early birth and death and illness when I needed stability.

The loss of friends who didn't understand the tears of fear over a real possibility of losing a longed-for-little brother and then losing an uncle and then nearly losing a dad.

It was easier for them to back away.

The loss of a mother who had to care for a tiny too-early infant who needed her every moment and couldn't spend the time I longed for in our night time talks. As a mom who hangs on the edge of exhaustion I now understand, but not then.

The loss of a dear uncle who left a wife and 5 children behind.

I think the loss of friendships was the deepest loss I felt. The years of feeling alone no matter at home or away.

Ann writes of intentionality when seeing JOY.

"Real change takes intentionality, like a woman bent over her garden beds every day with a spade and the determined will to grow up something good and strengthen the heart." (But what do you do when the weeds and animals uproot and destroy what you've worked hard for?)

"I may even have known that change requires more than merely thinking the warm and fuzzy thoughts about a door and a way through and that Greek word, eucharisteo, holding the mystery to the full life and ever after."

But How?

"How in the world, for the sake of my joy, do I learn to use eucharisteo to overcome my one ugly and self-destructive habit of ingratitude (that habit that causes both my cosmic and daily fall) with the saving habit of gratitude?"

How in the midst of loss, melancholy, depressing, rejection, and falling do I express gratitude?

How when holding down my child for the countless time for more tests to determine the why of his illness and then see other issues arise with another child that also calls for tests, and vials of blood and hospital stays and too many needles to count and then weekly clinic visits--do I express gratitude?

How when I find that I have been once again rejected by someone I hold dear, do I express gratitude?

How when I am holding an only hours old nephew that has begun to grow cold and his limbs stiff and lips purple when he should be sucking in the nourishment of life and squinting at the light around him, do I express gratitude?

Where do I find joy in the midst of the Fall when I know that Heaven's joy and perfection is what I'm missing and longing for?

How do I give thanks in all?

I'm not sure.

I've read my Bible and outlined and studied and memorized and prayed but somehow I am still missing or have lost the deep joy in the midst of the painful and normalness of life.

I have fallen somewhere and am struggling to stand back up.

Ann says she started a gift list--

Thankfulness List--

anything went in there.

I see daily joy in the little things with my children, but can I expand that to everything else?

She says, "magnify Him with Thanksgiving." (Ps. 69:30). Life magnifies the world's stress cracks, the grubbiness of a day, all that is wholly wrong and terribly busted...Our lives are little and we have falsely inflated self." (Isn't that my truth)

In giving thanks, it makes us smaller and Him bigger.

This is why our Moms In Touch prayer group has meant so much to me and why I really missed going last year: Thanksgiving.

It sets the tone, the mood of the group for the whole day and a whole new week and I come away (even with life's big burdens now heard) with a sense of joy and contentment and that He's got control and I can safely and happily let go.

It's because I've given thanks and heard the thankfulness of many others.

So I will begin my list.

Some things will go into my personal journal and some here.

But I think I can begin naming my one thousand gifts to be thankful for.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Guess Who?!?!

I dyed it!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Back to School and Show Time

My heart is swelling with sweet momma pride this week.

First, my oldest 2 started back to school this past Monday.

Precious Jewel is now a 3rd Grader and has moved schools.

Mr. Smiles is in 2nd Grade and moved upstairs in his building.

We are really happy with the teachers that both kids were placed with.

Precious Jewel is again in an all-girl's class and her teacher is a sweet lady who has attended our church in the past.

Mr. Smiles got the only male teacher in all of his school. His comment (along with his little friend) was, "He's one of the Secret Agents mom!"

From what I understand, they have Secret Agents that go around the school during lunch, recess or assembly time "catching kids" being good.


This is also the week of our County Fair.

In the past, we've done the "normal" family thing and visited the fair, but we've never participated.

This week Precious Jewel was allowed an excused absence from school so she could care for her little goat at the fair.

Last year both of the kids expressed interest in showing goats after visiting the animal pens in our yearly rounds of the buildings.

We decided to give it a go this year with our one little registered Alpine Doe that was born this past Spring.

The journey for "fair preparation" began weeks ago.

Only Precious Jewel showed this year due to us only having one baby. (Her momma came straight from the field and is still difficult for the kids to handle at times. She is also the master at escaping from the pen and eating my garden.)

For the past 6 weeks, Precious Jewel has been drug through the yard, stepped on, had arms wrenched out of joint, and cried buckets of tears all in attempt to train her highly spirited little Doe Morgan to lead.

Yesterday in the Show Ring was the test and they both passed with flying colors.

Since Mr. Smiles was not showing this year, he was not exempt from his first week of school, but the rest of us (including Grandmama and Papa) got to watch her from the bleachers.

Can I just say that it was about 95 degrees and sweltering?!

They had to walk their goats, answer questions from the judge (who Precious Jewel told me was as nice but not as funny as Sharon Osborne from America's Got Talent), and then walk some more and then some more and then do it all again.

We are so thankful for how kind and helpful we have found everyone.

The other dairy goat owners, judges, and contestants have been warm and welcoming to us newbies.

Two other little girls came right up to Precious Jewel on her first evening entering Morgan and showed her around the place, gave her tips on showing in the ring and even helped her walk Morgan.

It did a lot to ease Precious Jewel's fears.

The whole Show lasted about 2 hours and we honestly were totally confused as to what was happening.
Precious Jewel just paid close attention and did whatever was told of her and it paid off!

For her age group and for Morgan's age, she won a Medal and the Blue Ribbon for Showmanship (all that being drug around the yard and scraped arms and legs paid off).

She then won the Blue Ribbon for Morgan's age group (0-5 months).

This ribbon was for the best built and best looking baby goat. (It's still a bit beyond me).

The judges base it upon how wide or long the back and legs and shoulders etc etc....look.

Basically, will she grow up to be a healthy milker and have a long life.

Last, and the one she was so excited about was the Purple Best of Breed Ribbon she got for Morgan.

It meant Morgan beat out all the other little Alpine Breed Goats for best over-all baby.

Way beyond what we expected for her first ever goat show!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Happy Birthday Dear Luke!

Happy Birthday dear sweet hubby!

I am so thankful I married you.

Once again, you are now finally as old as me!

This year was the first year in our 9 years of marriage that my parents got to be here for Luke's birthday.

They had just arrived from Mexico where they have retired from missions and got to spend the weekend with us before traveling on up to where they will live in the Midwest.

The kids love spending time with them and we got a bonus of daddy having the weekend off...on his birthday weekend!!!

That hasn't happened since I can remember.

We spent most of the weekend just hanging out in the yard.

It was still 110 degrees, but we have a lot of shade and if we went out early in the morning (6:30am) and late evening (8 or 9pm), everyone tolerated the heat better.

Thank goodness for the weather change this last week to cooler temperatures because the 43+ days of 100+ temps and 60+ days of 95+ with no rain was killing our summer..not to mention any and all vegetation.

Grandparents are wonderful for swinging, reading and cuddling with the kiddos.

My dad brought out his accordion which fascinated me as a child and now fascinates my children.

Happy Birthday to you!!!

Happy Birthday to you!


Happy birthday to you!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Introducing Ginger and Junkyard

Several people have asked for pictures and I've been so busy downloading the pictures of Disney that it's taken me some time to get these.

We picked them up just 2 days after we got back from Florida.


Not so great.

I started back to work the day after that.

But when something or someone is ready, timing is not of the highest importance.

We'd promised the kids we'd find them a new dog (or dogs) when our sweet Leah left.

We even decided we'd buy a dog this time around (aside from pound fees) if that's what it took to get the right one for us. i.e. the breed we wanted.

Our list was short; Lab, Boxer, Golden Retriever or another Beagle.

All are great with kids which was the highest agenda for us since we have little people all the time.

All are smart and easy to train (easy is subjective).

These little sweet puppies were given to us by some friends from our church.

I'd been calling around to shelters and kennels and such and then someone told us that our friend's lab had just had 11 puppies.


Meet Ginger

named after the character Ginger in Eleanor Este's book Ginger Pye

She has a lot to live up to with such a name. She wasn't too happy about her bath when we brought her home, but she sat quietly in the baby pool and just looked up at me with her deep soulful eyes that very clearly communicated I was torturing her.

The cats?

Well, they weren't too sure of these wiggly, playful bundles of intrusion bouncing into their lives.

The puppies very quickly learned that even if someone was batting at your wiggly little backside, it was not wise to play back.

One might just loose some skin off of one's nose.

The puppies would hop and jump around each other in circles and around the kid's feet. The kittens...they were highly entertained.

They would sneak in close to the puppies and then scamper back to the safety of the sidewalk if they felt they were in any imminent danger of being bowled over.

Nater Mater was happy to join them on the sidewalk.

Excuse the continual underwear pictures.

He is totally potty-trained and wants to do it "ALL BY SELF."

So the less clothing, the better when we are exerting our independence here. Shorts just take waaaaaay too long to get off and inevitably an accident happens and tears ensue.

His little friend Cupcake was happy to join in a somewhat quieter boy with a quieter view.

Remember Cupcake who really doesn't taste like a cupcake?

He and Nater are tight friends.

The brother Junkyard was named after the infamous Junkyard dog on the old hit cartoon G.I. Joe
My dear hubby recently has begun introducing the boys to the good old classic cartoons such a G.I. Joe and Transformers and we both love and have instilled in them a taste for the Bugs Bunny and Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons.

None of this new stuff please. Just give us the classics and our kids will name their animals in love after them.

Now that the potty training is accomplished with child number 4 in our house, we can begin potty training these guys.

And the Adventure continues!