Friday, May 30, 2008

Cherries and Berries

My husband read my Thursday Thanks Tank and for 2 days in a row stopped by local fruit stands on the way home from work. They are so yummy! Looks like it is time to make strawberry shortcake!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Thursday Thanks Tank #41

Here is how my Thanks Tank is being filled today:

1. Pink Hair Bows. Elsie’s hair is growing and I am having fun putting a little pink hair bow in her hair.

2. Unexpected phone calls. I received a phone call from a friend yesterday and though it was short, it was wonderful. Calls like that always make me wonder why I used up my “phone love” when I was a teenager.
3. Plants. I few weeks ago (maybe it has been well over a month or so) Jonathan came home with 3 bean plants that he started growing at school. We have repotted it and it is growing like a weed (up the cord of the blinds!!). We are all getting such joy out of it! It has reminded me that I love house plants. The bean plants need to be planted outside but I am ready to love on some new potted plants.

4. A healthy baby. Elisabeth just had her 6 month check up. She is wonderfully healthy. She is small for her age but the doctor said “She is a baby on the go”. Elisabeth wouldn’t be still one second during the exam. She is such a joy!
5. Kid Drawings. My kids pictures always make my heart happy. This week Thomas drew his first drawing of people. He drew himself, daddy, and baby Elisabeth. There are rain clouds above. It is priceless to me.

6. Downtime. This past weekend, I just relaxed. I let the house go and I just enjoyed being with friends and family. It was needed.
7. My Garage. Since we have been in this house we have been back and forth being able to park our car in the garage. We are cleaning out, reorganizing and just battling our storage of stuff. The car can be parked in the garage again and it is such a blessing on rainy days!
8. Fruit. I am really enjoying the beginning of “fruit season”! I have especially been enjoying cherries, strawberries, blueberries, and bananas. All of it is giving me summer fever. I cannot wait for the local berry stands to open up.
9. My kids being excited about church. My kids ask about going to church all week. They love it. It makes me appreciate the church we are attending.
10. Solitude in the Morning. This morning my oldest headed off to the bus stop, my youngest was still sleeping and my two middle boys were playing nicely. I stepped outside, sat at the table on my patio and drank a cup of coffee. My grumpy morning attitude melted away as I listened to the sounds of the neighborhood starting up. I spent a few moments in thought and prayer. It was a blessing.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Wednesday Words

We are most human when we feel dull. Lolling around in a state of restlessness is one of life's greatest luxuries -- one not available to creatures that spend all their time pursuing mere survival. To be bored is to stop reacting to the external world, and to explore the internal one.
Carolyn Y. Johnson “The Joy of Boredom” The Boston Globe

“Do not boast about tomorrow,
for you do not know what a day may bring forth.”

Proverbs 27:1

The reason these quotes have struck a chord with me this week is simple. I have had so much entertainment lately that I found myself wondering what I was going to do next. We have had rounds of wonderful company and when my last guests left, I felt a bit let down. I was reminded that I can be content with what each day holds. I can be satisfied without longing for more and for the next event.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day

I spent much of the day thinking about Memorial Day. This morning I wondered exactly how I could honor the day. My husband had to work. We did not have any special plans. Here's what I did: I read about Memorial Day online. I said a prayer for the families that have lost soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Then, I talked to my kids about why we celebrate Memorial day. I started by asking if they knew what Memorial day is. Jonathan said, "It is the day we celebrate the army guys that died in the war." We talked about the different military branches and how we honor those that died. As I have thought about it, I have decided Jonathan wasn't really wrong. It is about celebrating what they were willing to do for our country. It is about celebrating people who served and gave us their all. I cannot forget- people are doing that today.

For another Memorial Day tribute, stumble over here.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Taking Flight with a Common Sense Approach

Recently my in-laws flew to visit us. If you have flown in the last couple of months, you know that the baggage restrictions for checked baggage have changed. Many airlines have now gone to restricting passengers to checking one piece of baggage free of charge. This is the case with Delta, which was the airlines my in-laws flew with. I do not have a problem with the new rule. It might be hard for some trips but I can deal with it. What I have issue with is people not using common sense.
My father in-law is an amputee. He has a prosthetic leg from the knee down. It is necessary and advantageous for him to have crutches at times. Delta would not let him check the crutches without paying an additional $50. Are you kidding me? So, he had to choose between his bag and his crutches or pay a fine. That is a bit ridiculous. He choose to carry-on his crutches. That makes traveling easy. So, an amputee is required to carry-on his crutches so he can have clothes? My father-in-law thought this was ridiculous. He told me about it in a non-chalant way and pretty much said, "Give me a break." I kept thinking about it and decided this just couldn't be the rule. So, I checked the fine print. Here's what I found:
Passengers who require medical supplies or equipment during their travel may check an additional item free of charge. They can also carry the item on with them, on top of the regular carry-on allowance, as long as the item meets size and weight restrictions.
Now the issue is that the Delta employees at the airport that my in-laws flew out of must not have known the rule details. This is where using common sense comes in. I cannot believe that the check-in employees didn't use their brain with this one...maybe try using a common sense approach to enforcing rules. If it doesn't make sense, check it out.

If something doesn't make sense, check it out before doing it. That's a pretty good rule to live by, I think.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Thursday Thanks Tank #40

I read something today that encouraged me to seek wisdom. I decided to spend time reading in Proverbs. I read and prayed through Proberbs 22 (choosen simply because today is the 22nd). My Thanks Tank today is based on my time in Proverbs 22.

Today I am thankful for the following:

1. I am thankful that the Lord is the Maker of us all. I was reminded of this during the week. No matter how different we are or how diverse our struggles are, we were all made by one God and He loves us all. (verse 2)
2. I am thankful for the way that my parents raised me. (verse 6)
3. I am thankful for my desire to be debt free. (verse 7)
4. I am thankful for the reminder to have gracious speech. (verse 11)
5. I am thankful that God is all knowing AND all powerful (verse 12)
6. I am thankful for wisdom, for my intelligence, for my desire to learn, and for my ability to trust. (verse 17-19)
7. I am thankful for what I have been given, for my home, for my husband's job, for the work I do daily. (verses 26-27)
8. I am thankful for my skills, my talents, and my passions. (verse 29)

Let me encourage you to be thankful today and to spend some time reading the Bible. You will be happy that you did.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


My Honey is 34 today. I am so thankful for him! Here's a recent photo of him with our sweet baby girl.

Email Seth or Stop by our family blog to drop him a birthday note.

Friday, May 16, 2008

All About Cookies

This is silly. This is fun. What cookie are you?

You Are a Chocolate Chip Cookie

Traditional and conservative, most people find you comforting.

You're friendly and easy to get to know. This makes you very popular - without even trying!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Thursday Thanks Tank # 39

I am taking a quick break to write down some things I am thankful for. This day is already a blur and it isn't halfway over. I realize that despite my craziness, I am very blessed. Here are some things I am thankful for today:

1. Successful Grocery shopping with 2 kids and a babay in tow at both Walmart and Safeway
2. Company Arriving this afternoon and tonight
3. Sunshine and Heat. It is going to be in the 80s here today, which is really warm for this time of year here.
4. Air Conditioning.
5. Getting the boys down for an early nap.
6. Starbucks at Safeway. BTW, this was not the only reason I had to go to Safeway in addition to Walmart. It sure did make it bearable, though.
7. Blogs. I read something yesterday on a friend's blog that really hit me right where I needed it. I am thankful for that post and for all of the blogs that allow me to stay in touch with people.
8. Popsicles. My boys are so excited about "popsicle season". I just love this time of year.
9. Pansies. These are some of my absolute favorite flowers.
10. Good sleep. Elisabeth has turned a corner and now she is consistently sleeping around 10 hours at night.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Food Allergy Awareness Week

May 11-17 is the 11th annual Food Allergy Awareness Week (sponsored by The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases). I imagine that in future years I will probably take advantage of this week and spend the time with David educating his class or peers about his food allergy. I started to write a list of "Did you know" facts about food allergies and how prevelant they are in our country. Instead, I will pass on a link to the Food Allergy and Anaphylactic Network. Instead of making you more aware of food allergy issues, I will educate you on David's daily battle with his peanut allergy. After all, if you are a friend of mine and David's, you need to know what his peanut allergy means for him. I don't really have a great place to start so I am going to make a list.

- We found out David is allergic to peanuts when he was one. He had the smallest imagineable taste of a peanut butter sandwhich. He broke out in hives and his voice became hoarse. We gave him benedryl and waited to see if we should take him to the ER. We made him an appointment with an allergist.
- David was tested for allergies soon after that outbreak. At that time he was allergic to peanuts, fish, eggs, and wheat (which explained the numerous times he got hives as a baby). He outgrew the rest of the food allergies.
- Every time he has been tested for the Peanut allergy, his reaction has gotten worse.
- David is required to have his EpiPen with him at all times. He would most certainly go into anaphylactic shock if he ate peanuts or a peanut butter product.
- We also keep Benedryl handy because he gets hives from contact reactions (for example--if he touches something that had peanut butter on it).
- We do not have peanuts or peanut products in our home. This includes peanut butter. This also includes ANYTHING with a peanut allergy warning.
- Grocery shopping requires reading labels. I must always check for allergy warnings. I cannot think "once safe always safe". We have seen safe products (no warning) become unsafe (nut warning). Also, labels are not standardized. Sometimes you have really search for a warning OR simply read all of the ingredients.
- We cannot get anything from a grocery store bakery (or any bakery). This means that my kids do not know about the free cookies that many stores give out. More importantly, going to friends birthday parties are tricky. David cannot have store bought cake. Even if it is homemade, he cannot have the cake if I don't know if the mix has a peanut warning.
- We cannot safely eat at Oriental or Mexican food. We cannot go out for Ice Cream at local Ice Cream shops.
- It is impossible to protect David from all peanut contact. He has been exposed to peanuts through physical contact - He was exposed from a child booster seat (at a restaurant that served PB&J to kids), he was exposed at an airport (touched something that someone who had eaten peanuts had touched and then rubbed his eye), he was exposed in a kid cart at Walmart, and he has been exposed at a friend's house. Contact exposure (except when rubbed in his eye) causes hives.

This is just a list...not an inclusive list... of some of what David's peanut allergy entails. Before David's allergy, food allergies didn't mean anything to me. Now, I am constantly aware of the possible danger. It is mind boggling to think that a food could harm or kill my child. If you are reading this (unless you just happened up on my blog) you know David. I hope this post makes you more aware and more compassionate for his allergy.

Monday, May 12, 2008

A Heart Full of Love

It wasn't until I became a mother that I was able to really appreciate my mom. I am so thankful for my mom and extra thankful that I am a Momma.
Here's a long ago picture of me and my sweet mom.

This Mother's Day was really wonderful. My family made me feel loved.
Here's a bit about my day: My husband woke me up and brought me coffee and an omelet for breakfast. I got up and found the living room and kitchen decorating a bit with red and white streamers and red and white balloons (for anyone that knows that we decorate crazy for birthdays, this was a tamed down version and it was really quite pretty). I also found beautiful red roses on the kitchen table. I got myself and Elisabeth ready for church. This means that Seth got all of the boys ready: fed, dressed and clean. That is always an undertaking when we are trying to get somewhere! We all went to church. Then we came home and relaxed. I spent some time to myself and the boys (including dad) made chocolate chip cookies. Jonathan and David delivered cookies and milk to me (Thomas was napping). That night, Seth made Fajitas (which were very yummy).

Here are some of my special pictures from Mother's Day:

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

"I remember my mother's prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life."~ Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)

Friday, May 09, 2008

Mothering: Thoughts from my Heart

With Mother’s Day coming up, I have spent a lot of time thinking about mothering. I am hesitant to write this for public viewing but I will anyway. I love being a mother. Never in a million years would I have imagined at 20 that I would one day have 4 kids. I couldn’t even imagine having one child. When I was pregnant with my first, I often fretted about becoming a mother. I worried and cried: how will I be a good mother? Once my baby arrived, I fell in love with mothering. The love I felt for my child was like no other love I had ever felt. Since then three more rooms in my heart have opened up for my 3 other children. I don’t struggle with the fear of motherhood anymore. I truly love being a mother. I do struggle with my position as a stay-at-home mom. This is not a job I am qualified for. Honestly, it is very hard for me to feel satisfied in this role. I don’t think I ever “get it right.” It is so much more than it being a job that can never done. There is the constant struggle between being a “housewife” and being a “stay-at-home mom”. As a housewife, I am constantly trying to clean the house. I cannot ever seem to make progress in this area. Organization does not come easily for me. I relax best in a clean environment, so it seems I am never relaxed. I spend a great majority of my time cleaning, cooking, doing laundry and the like. My heart screams, “Is this what I am staying home for?” If my kids were in a daycare, they would have activities galore. It drives me crazy to think of the structured activities they would enjoy. Not too far back I instituted a weekly Craft/Baking Day. This was greeted with great enthusiasm from my kids. I love these days as much as the children. I long for more of this kind of dedicated time with the children. I long to feel satisfied with my position as a stay-at-home mom. When I worked, I got annual reviews. During those reviews, I would set (yearly) goals, I would get counseled on my progress toward my objectives; I would get feedback on my work. I would get constructive criticism and praise. Now, I get mostly complaints. My kids constantly point out what I am not doing. It is defeating. I remind myself that they are only kids. I know my husband appreciates my efforts. I just don’t find job satisfaction in blanket appreciation. I don’t have clear goals…though I tried to set some for myself at the beginning of the year. I cannot feel a sense of achievement because the job is so abstract. I struggle with what I am trying to accomplish. I struggle with feeling useful. I struggle with feeling productive and intelligent. I loved school. I thrived in college. I thrived in the professional world. I love learning and growing. I don’t feel like I am excelling. I long to feel that. Certainly, I imagine I am not the only woman to ever feel this way. By the way, I struggle with this all the time. And yet, I don’t really want to go back to work. I miss it so much. I just cannot imagine going back. This is the hardest part of all. Even if I could afford to send my 4 kids to daycare, I don’t think I could. I want to be there for my kids on a daily basis. I want to be with them, see them grow and learn, watch them pass milestones, experience their daily joys and frustrations. It boils down to this: I cannot imagine letting someone else care for my kids when I am able. I just struggle with being content in this stay-at-home mom position.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Thursday Thanks Tank #38

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” John F Kennedy

My goal is to live with a thankful attitude. I have been given so much! When I approach my day with this gracious attitude, my isolation, my irritability, my indifference cannot dictate my feelings during the day.

Here are some of the ways my Thanks Tank is being filled this week:

1.My Mom: With Mother’s Day around the corner, I would be remiss not to mention that I am very thankful for my mother. I am thankful for her love. I am thankful that as an adult, I can appreciate our differences in a way I never could before. I am thankful that I just got to visit with her. She always inspires me to be the best I can be.
2.Being a Mom: I never ever, ever imagined that one day I would have 4 kids. I am thankful for each of my kids. I am thankful for the little things that make mothering a joy: kid drawn pictures, finger painting, kid hugs, reading bedtime stories, playing hide and seek, watching water play (even if it is just in the sink!), kissing boo boos to make them better, helping a child with reading, praying with my kids, planting a seed and watching it grow… and on and on.
3. Extended Daylight Hours: I am really enjoying getting the kids to bed and getting to enjoy some daylight. Last night, I got them all in bed and then went outside and pulled weeds. It was so refreshing to be outside that time of day—knowing my kids were all tucked in their beds.
4. My husband: He provides for me, loves me, cares for me, encourages me, talks to me, laughs at me, helps me with the kids and so much more. This week, I am really thankful for our emotional and physical connection.
5. Good Doctor Visits: While my parents were in town, I made use of the free babysitting and took different kids to different doctor appts. I am thankful that the visits went well. David is now on a seasonal allergy medicine to combat his grass allergy. Jonathan is about to be sporting some new glasses.
6. God’s Amazing Creation (manifested in the ocean): We drove out to the Oregon Coast this past weekend. We weren’t able to have beach time because it was cold and windy. (We were headed to the Oregon Coast Aquarium.) We ended up eating dinner at an ocean-side restaurant. Watching the waves and looking at the vast ocean gave me a powerful sense of amazement for this world we live in.
7. Mom Friends in My Life: I am thankful for the many mom friends in my life. I learn from my friends, I am encouraged by them, and I just simply find joy in watching them mother their children.
8. Sharing High Points and Low Points: This week I have started asking my kids to tell me the “High Point” and “Low Point” (Best and Worst part) of their day. I got this idea from the book “Taking Care of the Me in Mommy” by Lisa Whelchel. I am thankful for this exercise. It has been a fun way to get my kids to share their emotions (in a conversational way). I am thankful for this new venue to get my kids to talk.
9. Dad passing 5 Year Stroke Milestone: Five years ago today my dad sufferred a massive stroke. My mom and dad were given lots of statistics one of which was that most massive stroke victims suffer another stroke during the first 5 years (don't have the actual statistic for you). My dad has not has another stroke and he continues to become more and more functional. I am so thankful for him and how hard he works.

Well, that’s all the time I have this morning. A little one needs my attention now. Take time to be thankful today! If you feel so led, take the Thanks Tank image and share your thankful thoughts on your own blog. If you don’t have a blog, feel free to share with me your thankfulness via comments. Most importantly, be sure to think thankful thoughts today.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

(Reminder: Pictures of this cute boy and his siblings are posted most often on the Owen Home Blog)

Monday, May 05, 2008

Monday Minute

I took a minute- or a few- to fill out this email form. Then I thought, why email it? It would take me longer to figure out who to send it to than it would be to post it. So, here you go, have fun reading my answers. It was fun using only one word for each answer. I pretty much tried to complete the questionnaire as fast as possible without putting too much thought into it.
Not as easy as you might think. Now copy or forward, change the answers to suit you and pass it on. It's really hard to only use one word answers. Be sure to send back to the person you received it from.

1. Where is your cell phone? kitchen
2. Your significant other? work
3. Your hair? mess
4. Your mother? passionate
5. Your father? caring
6. Your favorite thing? sleep
7. Your dream last night? wonderful
8. Your favorite drink? coke
9. Your dream/goal? contentment
10. The room you're in? bedroom
11. Your hobby? scrapbooking
12. Your fear? failure
13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? stronger
14. Where were you last night? home
15. What you're not? tall
16. Muffins? cranberry
17. One of your wish list items? gymmembership ;)
18. Where you grew up? Tennessee
19. The last thing you did? laundry :(
20. What are you wearing? black
21. Your TV? off
22. Your pets? Bailey
23. Your computer? tempermental
24. Your life? excellent
25. Your mood? hungry
26. Missing someone? George
27. Your car? clean!
28. Something you're not wearing? makeup
29. Favorite store? starbucks
30. Your summer? outside
31. Like someone? everyone
32. Your favorite color? yellow
33. When is the last time you laughed? morning
34. Last time you cried? unsure
35. Who will resend this? everyone

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Thursday Thanks Tank #37

This week I starting re-using an old journal. I think I mentioned it in a post a few months back. It is a "Count Your Blessings" journal. There are spaces to journal daily 5 thankful things (It states-"Be sure to remember five things to be grateful for every day"). This has been a fun exercise for me this week. I am thankful for taking time to journal. It is something I hope to continue and expand.

My thanks tank list is simple this week-- just a list of some things that are filling my heart with joy:
1. Sunshine
2. Tulips
3. Clean Children
4. A quite afternoon
5. Elisabeth falling asleep in my arms
6. Baking cookies
7. Compliments from my parents
8. Laughter
9. Watching the kids in swim lessons and soccer
10. My children. Here's a picture of them (taken on April 20th).

Baking Bonanza

I am not sure what's going with me. It might be because of the constant mention of snickerdoodles here. Or, maybe it is because of the current Food Blogging here. It might just be because my parents are in town and my dad loves Snickerdoodles. Maybe the Snickerdoodles are to blame for it all. Anyway, I was going to make some snickerdoodles for my dad. I ended up making chocolate chip cookies because those are David's favorite. (And, when both of your brothers just had birthday's, it makes you feel special to get your favorite cookies.) The day after I made the chocolate chip cookies, I made snickerdoodles...2 batches mind you. Right after making those batches, I cooked dinner (baked Italian chicken and veggies) and just HAD to make some homemade biscuits. And now, I am just dying to use up my very ripe bananas in some fresh banana bread (oh, and yes, there is a half a loaf still in the fridge from a week and a half ago). I wish you were all in town for me to share some goodies with you. I took some pictures of the the cookies so you could feel closer... or to document my craziness... not sure which.