Time For Another Poll!

We are pretty set on the first name of our next baby, but have some choosing to do still as far as a middle name. I put a poll on the sidebar; please tell me which name you like best.

Some explanation of each one:

Margaret- name of Luke’s grandma who passed away last year. When Luke’s dad died, I wanted the next boy to be named for him; we didn’t use “Don”, but chose one of Don’s Biblical heroes, one he identified with late in life. Since we have the opportunity to remember Grandma Jean in this same way, this would be my choice.

Elizabeth- name of my paternal grandmother (deceased)

Kathleen- middle name of my maternal grandmother (deceased)

Polls are open. Make sure you firmly click your mouse; we don’t want any hanging chads.

Let me know if the poll isn’t working for you.

If You Give A Kid A Screwdriver…

Little S has been going around “fixing” toys, which basically means replacing the batteries.  He said to me, “With Daddy gone, I’ll be busy fixing things.”

He apparently thinks anything he fixes now belongs to him, which came as quite a blow to N who was overjoyed to see his helicopter working again, only to have it snatched away by its new owner.

It is fun when the boys take interest in these things- we can never have too many Mr. Fixit’s around here.

Digging Day

I’m glad I was feeling up for an adventure today. Luke was out of town with work when the men got started digging the driveway and foundation, so I thought I’d take the kids up to watch and get some camera footage. After hastily packed ham and cheese sandwiches, we were off to the land, to see what we could see (even made up a song about it, to the tune of “The bear went over the mountain”).

On the way I watched for a recycling dropoff container I had found a few weeks ago- I figured I would bring any items along with us anytime we would be going by. We get to the spot and- no container. Hopefully it was just being dumped, but if it is gone for good, I’m really bummed because I have to start all over again looking for dropoff sites that will be convenient for us (on the way somewhere).

We got to the land, with no less than three calls from Luke on the trip up (“Where are you now?”). He was on his way down from Toledo, and would get there a little after I left. It worked out really good for him; he didn’t end up missing much of the digging. When we stopped the van, I and most of the children needed a bathroom break. I have my excuse (see sidebar), but the kids were celebrating something (possibly, but not limited to the dig) the whole drive up, exclaiming “Cheers!” and tapping their water bottles and taking a sip. Over and over again. So some bladders were needing emptied.

I took the children out into the woods a bit and we did our business. A Major has really developed this girly squeamishness for spiders, and of course she saw one just as she needed to squat. Finally everyone did get relieved, and we went back to the van. I didn’t plan on letting anyone out of the vehicle; I figured we’d sit and watch a bit, then head on to Wal-Mart. The kids didn’t seem to mind, due in part to Daddy constantly telling them how much poison ivy is around out there.

The trackhoe started up, and I scrambled to get the videocamera set in a place it could record without me holding it- balancing precariously on top of the recycling I didn’t get to drop off. The boys realize they can see better through the front (open) window, so they park in the middle of the two seats. I’m sitting in the driver’s seat, trying to down this salad and speak quietly to them about how they can’t lean there, they’ll knock over the camera, etc., hoping it isn’t picking up my voice. It didn’t, I noticed later as I watched. The digger was pretty loud and overpowering soundwise. What did come through was A Major at one point going on and on about another spider in the van and demanding the doors be shut to keep out any more bugs. Ah, the good life.

Luke called a few more times (“How many scoops?”), and one time the operator comes over to talk to me, so I handed the phone to him. It is then I discover that all the ‘digging’ I have been filming was really just him skimming off the topsoil. I did wonder when the bucket was actually going to go in the ground…

We left and headed to Wal-Mart. I mention this part because the kids were all very good while I was in the store. I don’t know the last time I have taken them all somewhere by myself, especially to a supercenter, and I just have to sing their praises a bit. The boys are getting too old to go in the ladies’ room with me, so I had the older four sit on a bench across from the restroom while I took the babies in a cart with me. It was a bit nerve-wracking, but I thought it was best. I come out and they are all sitting prettily on the bench, like little cherubs. A Major said a lady came by and told them they were being really good. I was so pleased I let them run the main aisle back to the baby/toddler department.

On the way back to the land, I went through the town of Lexington, looking for recycling containers. We drove by the school Luke first taught at (“Oh. Now will you please turn the music back on?”), and I got to thinking about how much I walked over every inch of that little town. We had one car, and I often was without it during the day, so I would walk to the library, or the bike trail, or just around. I’m not that active anymore, many reasons why, or who. But I hope to get in better habits in our new home.

Luke will post about all the nitty gritty of the dig, the dirt, if you will. But the highlight of my day was that it was time spent out and about with the kids that went well.

Weekend Thoughts

When I’m worried and I can’t sleep
I count my blessings instead of sheep
And I fall asleep counting my blessings
When my bankroll is getting small
I think of when I had none at all
And I fall asleep counting my blessings

I think about a nursery and I picture curly heads
And one by one I count them as they slumber in their beds
If you’re worried and you can’t sleep
Just count your blessings instead of sheep
And you’ll fall asleep counting your blessings

-Irving Berlin, from the 1954 film White Christmas

32 Blessings

1. My wonderful husband- he’s building me a house. Now, how many people can say that?

2. A Major- “When I become a ballet dancer, after each performance I will come out and tell people about Jesus.”

3. Big S- “Can we dress up?”

4. Little S- “God made people so we would worship Him.” Said it this morning, no coaching. Yeah, I’m looking into pre-enrollment into seminary.

5. Noi Noi- “He’s digging fow twezure.” His take on the baby with all fours in the flower bed dirt.

6. A Minor- always on the lookout for a pretty dress, even if it is the middle of the day and she already has one on.

7. The Baby- recognizes his calling as a professional climber.

8. Carol- she is letting us live in her house and try very hard not to destroy anything. A very brave woman.

9. Keith and Leigh Ann- they let us live next door. Very brave couple.

10. My dad- worked very hard to provide for our family

11. My mom- worked very hard to take care of us and our home

12. My sister- she is so giving it makes me feel guilty.

13. My brother- he’s going back to school to pursue music

14. My friend Angela- she is the bubbliest, most joyful person I know.

15. My friend Jenny- our dinner fare is so much more delicious thanks to her.

16. My friend Diane- I always come away from a visit refreshed and encouraged to do better as a wife and mom

17. My friend Kellie- I am challenged by her attitude to be more quiet, more patient, and more loving

18. Our in-between house

19. Our house to come

20. Our plucky garden- tomatoes, peppers, sweet potatoes, broccoli, maybe even eggplant, we’ll see. Mmmm. Eggplant Parmesan. Luke would deny this, but he ate it when I made it once and declared it “good”. Squash, cantaloupe, cucumbers…

21. Blueberry cobbler. Coming next month to a table in our house, made from local blueberries.

22. Chipotle. Can’t seem to get off the food kick, can I?

23. Our church- it we couldn’t have found it at a better time. So nice to be placed in a ‘family’ again after months of searching.

24. CEF Good News Clubs- I pray others see and realize the need for this program to continue in the public schools.

25. VBS- say yes! We did, and had a memorable week.

26. The Internet- source of many good things

27. The freedom to homeschool- there is so much good curriculum out there! I want to do it all.

28. The four seasons- I basked in the afternoon sun, yet could also read a picture book today about Christmas and long for snow, too.

29. Heroes of the faith, to learn from and pattern our lives by their example

30. The Bible- wonderful words of life

31. The little one that kicks inside- I’m designing a onesie with “Lucky Number Seven” screenprinted on it. Luke warns me to avoid certain fonts, which would allude to some alcoholic beverage.

32. My Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, aside from Whom I could not live, move or have my being. Oh may I be found waiting faithfully for Your return.

Psalm 90 And Me

The experience of literally being stretched to my body’s limits in pregnancy can often take a toll on me emotionally as well as physically. I usually comfort myself by thinking how I can make things right once the baby’s born- eat less, exercise, do what is needed to regain the form and figure I think I am supposed to have. That is all well and good, but in my reading recently I was hit with another, quite different perspective. The Amy Carmichael biography I finished detailed the many ailments and pains she suffered, especially at the end of her life. Many prayers were lifted for her healing, of course, but it apparently was not God’s plan to restore her health to anything more than that of someone bedridden. Amy had to be at peace with the pain until she died.

Then, the other day, I read Psalm 90, and it felt like it was written for me, which of course it was. Here are some of the verses, and some of my thoughts.

Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.
Before the mountains were born
Or You gave birth to the earth and the world,
Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.

I love the imagery of us and all creation being in God’s ‘womb’- dwelling place, born, and gave birth all bring to mind the joyous but intense process of bringing forth life. It quickly got my attention. He had me at “Lord…”

You turn man back into dust
And say, “Return, O children of men.”
For a thousand years in Your sight
Are like yesterday when it passes by,
Or as a watch in the night.
You have swept them away like a flood, they fall asleep;
In the morning they are like grass which sprouts anew.
In the morning it flourishes and sprouts anew;
Toward evening it fades and withers away.

Here’s where I began to think about how maybe, if my body never completely ‘got over’ all these pregnancies, would that really be such an awful thing? Though resilient, this shell is only so durable. I can meet its needs to the best of my abilities, but it is still dust.

We have finished our years like a sigh.
As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years,
Or if due to strength, eighty years,
Yet their pride is but labor and sorrow;
For soon it is gone and we fly away.

I’m only 31 364/365 years old, but I can already see what these verses talk about.  Sigh.
So teach us to number our days,
That we may present to You a heart of wisdom.
Do return, O LORD; how long will it be?
And be sorry for Your servants.
O satisfy us in the morning with Your lovingkindness,
That we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.
Make us glad according to the days You have afflicted us,
And the years we have seen evil.
Let Your work appear to Your servants
And Your majesty to their children.
Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us;
And confirm for us the work of our hands;
Yes, confirm the work of our hands.

The reality of my frailty would be too depressing, if it were not for the hope of the Lord’s return. Until He does, my goals are outlined above. Live these few, short days wisely, and work for the only thing that lasts- God’s glory.

The Rhythms Of Home

…all of housework is creative, including the so-called janitorial part of it. When God created the heavens and the earth, he started with chaos and ended with a finely differentiated and beautiful universe. Housework is all about bringing order out of chaos. ~Margaret Kim Peterson, Keeping House

I finally tackled the toys in the basement this morning. While the baby napped, I made my way downstairs to something I had been avoiding for weeks- a pile of playthings a foot deep, right at the bottom, just waiting for someone to break their neck maneuvering through. It had gotten commonplace to toss a toy down the stairs instead of taking it to its proper place; I admit to being guilty of doing it myself on occasion. But it could not stay that way- and I knew we had to get it in order. So, after an hour or so of organization, the toys were shelved and ready for continued storage, giveaway, or the next play date. I’m reading Keeping House right now, the book from which the above quote originates, and am finding so many little reminders and encouragements in it to remain faithful at my housekeeping tasks, no matter how “janitorial”. What a satisfying feeling to, as she mentions elsewhere in the book, put my home back together like pieces of a puzzle. How blessed I am to be a worker at home- it is in this work that I get to display the Creator God in my life.

Check out the House Project page- things are moving right along! 🙂

Thoughts On Recycling

Cooler temperatures today made a perfect background for trying Kim’s Homemade Tomato Soup. Rye bread (for grilled ham and swiss) in the bread machine and the soup in the crockpot reminded me how grateful am that food preparation for many things need not take all morning. As I was assembling the soup, I tossed some cans in the trash, then caught myself.

We are starting to recycle. The day I began, I found this nifty list of all the items that Sims, our local trash and scrap hauler, will take, and quickly printed it up. As I go through my day now, though, I am realizing the challenge for me in the habit of not throwing everything away. I’ll have to start a little at a time. So, we’ll just do paper, plastic, glass and cans for now. 🙂 Luke would like to see us composting food waste and burning our paper at the new house. Then, if everything else can be earmarked for the recycling bin, we won’t need to hire trash service. I was inspired by Robyn’s small grocery bag holding their trash- that could be us, too, if we put our minds to it.

Along the same lines- I had an old copy of Country Living sitting on the counter, and just before I pitched it (in the paper bin 🙂 ) I noticed some beautiful rugs on one page. They are called Potholder Rugs, because they look and are made much like their smaller counterparts. But get a load of that pricetag- $75 for something that will be under my feet? I don’t think so. Even back when the girls started their potholder business, I was brainstorming ways to make bigger pieces the same way. Thanks be to Google, I found this article a few entries down from the expensive rugs during my search. The author has a way of using her dining table legs to act as the loom for her to make a woven rug! Sweet! Just the kind of recycling project I could get into, or under. There is nothing like reusing something AND saving money at the same time. Now I just need to find some shirts we don’t want anymore…