Monday, June 30, 2008

Lessons From Parenthood

Jeana: Noah, please put your clothes away.

Noah: Okay.

Noah puts his pants away and then pounces on his brother is who playing with Noah's toys.

Jeana: Noah, did you put your clothes away?

Noah: I put my pants away.

Jeana: What about your shirts? And socks? And pajamas and underwear?

Noah: But Toby will get my toys!

Jeana: Don't worry about what Toby is doing. Just do what I asked you to do, please.

That last line, that line I repeat 50 times a day. Okay, not really but sometimes it feels like it. It's frustrating to me that I have to ask Noah multiple times to do a simple task because he will only focus on what his brother is doing. There are variations on the above the conversation. Sometimes the complaint about Toby is that Toby is in Noah's way. Or that Toby is making a different mess that Noah would rather clean up than the chore I've assigned him.

The excuses don't matter to me. All I want is for Noah to simply get up and do what I've asked of him. Most of the time it would take him less than a minute. But many times the distraction and the complaining stretch the chore out into 15 minutes or longer and Noah misses out on several rewards because we no longer have time in the day to get to them. Things I know he would love...like a walk to the park, or time spent playing a game, or making a special treat to eat.

I'm sure you see where this is going. I struggle with comparing myself to others. I have always struggled with this and even though I have had times of focus on God's direction, I know that I will most likely stumble in this area again. I know that God is infinitely more patient that I am so I don't worry that he is getting frustrated with me because I keep saying, "But So-and-So is doing this..." instead of simply doing what he asks me to do. However, it makes me sad that I am not pleasing him by being instantly obedient.

When Noah hops to it and does his chores quickly it makes me so proud and eager to just pour blessings on him. What if I am missing out on blessings that God is just longing to give me simply because I keep looking over at my brothers and sisters and saying, "But they're doing this, they're in my way, I want to do that instead." Additionally, Noah's prompt obedience is a clear sign of his love and respect for me. I hate to think that I am disrepecting the lover of my soul by doing something as petty and immature as comparing my calling to anothers.

Jeana, don't worry about what <insert your name here> is doing. Just do what I've asked you to do, please.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

It's like a HEAT WAVE! (but not)

It has been super hot here for the past few days. In the high 90s! I realize that to many of you readers in other parts of the country (California, Lousiana, Alabama, Georgia, Arizona, and Florida) this is not that hot. But jumping from temperatures in the 60s to the 90s is a shock to our poor northwest systems. We're melting!

Yesterday we hung out at the farm and enjoyed their cool ceiling fan. Toby ate his first ice cream cone which was really cute. Lila bought water guns for this amazing project she and Nila are working on for the kids so Geary, Noah and I cooled off a little using those. It was really fun. Every time we leave the farm we think, "That was so nice! Why don't we go out there more often?" I guess life just tends to run away and drag us along for the ride. But we'd like to be more intentional about spending time with our family in town on a regular basis.

Today we walked to church. It was nice to have some good theology talk with my husband but by the time we got to church I was a wet, sweaty mess! I tried to clean up the bathroom before we walked in (over 20 minutes late!) to the service but I think most of prayers today were of the "Dear God, please don't let me stink and offend the person sitting next me!" variety.

After church we went to Fred Meyer and bought a little kiddie pool. Summer time is definitely here!

Updated 30 minutes later: It just started raining.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

As if she's Cheddar or something.

My friend Becca (a missionary in the Czech Republic) is visiting the states this month and we had a chance to hang out with her last week. When were making plans on when and where to meet her I asked Noah, "Do you remember Becca? She came to visit it us on the train when we lived in Edmonds?"

He scrunched up his face and thought for a few seconds. "Does she have yellow hair?" I nodded. He continued, "And is it kind of...sharp?"

Monday, June 23, 2008

Laundry Soap Update

It's been about 12 weeks since I made my laundry soap. I just used the last 1/2 cup and will need to make more today or tomorrow. I love this stuff and I don't think I will ever go back to store bought.

A few things I've learned:

  • With white loads I've found that adding an extra bit of either Borax or Washing Soda really helps to make the whites brighter.
  • A little extra Washing Soda goes a long way in deodorizing--remember we've been doing a lot of yard word/home improvement projects. Some of our clothes were getting pretty sweaty/stinky.
  • The spigot container worked out okay but it probably would have been easier to just put the soap in a used detergent bottle or a some other kind of pouring container.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Fun with Chopsticks

For Fathers Day we went out to lunch at Noodles & Company. If you haven't been there yet we highly recommend it. Try the Pesto Cavatapi or the Bangkok Curry. You won't regret it.

The kids had a lot of fun playing with chopsticks.

video

Little Drummer Baby

Don't you just want to eat those chubby little baby cheeks?


When Noah saw this picture he said, "I look like a beetle. Or a t.v."

Congratulations, Unky Jared!

We had a great time up in Seattle last weekend. The train ride was fun and I think both boys really enjoyed it. On Thursday night we got to see my brother graduate from Green River. It was really cool and I'm so proud of him!



Here's a video of the big moment. You know, for posterity.


video

It was really nice to be able to hang out with my family. We did a little thrift store shopping (yay!) and played lots of Wii. I wish I could show you the Miis we made to look like each member of our family. They are very cute. Noah was actually very good at Wii Bowling and I know he had a blast playing with his uncle. They were best buddies all weekend long.

Cooking with Kids

I've got a new post up over at Food Love. It includes a video on how to make homemade ice cream in a bag! Go check it out and let me know if you decide to try it.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Getting Prettified

It was time for a blog make-over. I'm not sure this is the template we'll stick with but I'll leave it up for now. I love the funky bird but the header is just really...big. Also, I'm not sure I'm loving the three column thing. I think I'll let it sit for a week and see if it grows on me.

I updated our links list and blogroll. Let me know if you want to be removed from the list or if I missed you. Are there other elements you would like to see on our blog? I was thinking of making a Home Improvement section so you could see the progress we're making on your house. Are people even interested in that?

Let me know your opinions! I've been fiddling around with the template changes for so long this morning I think I'm starting to doubt myself and my sense of style. Blech.

*Update:

Okay, I cropped the huge masthead image and I like this size better. I probably should just edit the photo so that I can have the green border all the way around. A project for another day.

I decided I really didn't like the three columns so I moved everything over to the right and resized the main body and the right column. But I can't figure out to get rid of the left column. See the little sliver of it above the main body? Anyone know what I'm supposed to do to remove that? All I can find on Google is how add a third column, nothing on how to remove one. Help!

*Update:

I figured it out. So now I just need to fix the picture, add a Recent Comments widget and set up a Home Improvement viewing system.

Thanks for all the encouraging comments!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

And we're off...again!

So now that I've spent the whole morning blogging about our awesome vacation to Black Butte, I'm leaving again.

Tonight the kids and I are taking the train up to Seattle to go to my brother's college graduation! Poor Geary has to stay home alone and work his summer job.

We'll be back late Saturday night and I'm sure there will be more recaps of our adventures. Bye for now!

Black Butte Recap

Thank you!

We had a wonderful time in Black Butte with Bob and Garyanna. It was just the right blend of relaxing and exciting and I can't wait to do it again. It is such a blessing to have such loving and generous in-laws. Thank you so much, Garyanna and Bob for providing such a nice holiday for us. We love you and appreciate you more than we can say. Thank you again and again and again!

And if you ever have the privilege of being invited to Black Butte by my relatives then I highly encourage you to accept. It is a wonderful treat!

Shopping & Painting

Another highlight of our vacation was shopping in Sisters and in Bend. Sisters is so adorable! I could have poked around in the shops there all day--too bad we were outnumbered by males who could not have cared less about shopping. My wonderful mother-in-law and I had a good time though. My favorite stores in Sisters were Twigs, Bedouin, and the Antique Mall.

When we were in Bend, Bob and Geary found a new children's museum called Working Wonders. I was so busy chasing Toby around I didn't even think about getting my camera out until we were sitting down in the art room. Here's Noah, the serious artist. Once I get it framed I'll show you what he was painting.

If you're ever in Bend with kids you should definitely check this place out. It's set up like a little town (known as Kidville) with a grocery store, post office, pet hospital, pizza shop and more. All the buildings have telephones which can call the other buildings so the pizza shop can order tomato sauce from the store and the post office can order pizza for the mail man. It's very fun and very cute. We had a great time.

Smooching Trees

video

One of the ways we motivated Noah to keep pedaling was to race him around the playground. He went faster and faster and decided his final race would be against Grandma. You can watch the video above. Just to warn you, it's not all that exciting but you'll get to hear a few snarky comments from Geary and me so hopefully it will be worth your while.

After the big race it was time for Noah to ride the bike back to the rental lot. There was slight hill that he was afraid to go down but we all pressured encouraged him to try and he timidly rolled down the incline.

Just when it looked like he was starting to have fun going fast he lost his balance. We all saw the bike tip and we all saw Noah stick his foot out and catch himself from falling. Unfortunately he over compensated and the bike spun completely around and Noah tipped the other way. He stuck his other foot out and he would have avoided the fall except for... the tree. The tree that Noah rammed into face first. It was just like George of the Jungle. His face hit the bark and then he kind of slid down trunk. He had split his lip and scraped his chin.

Geary picked him up and took him to the bathroom for cleanup while the rest of us returned the bike. I was so proud of Noah's good attitude though! On the way to get popsicles for his lip he was able to laugh at himself and join in on the joking about how he had kissed a tree. "Maybe you can call me Tree-Face! Or WoodyLips!"

Of course now that tree will be famous. It will be known as "Noah's Tree" and we plan to re-tell the story of his tree smooch for generations.

Training Wheels

Noah was bummed that he wasn't big enough to pedal the Family Bike so on a different (warmer and dryer) day we rented a bike with training wheels for him.

The brothers and their wheels.

He did a really great job pedaling and spent most of the time circling a little bike path around a playground.



Here's a short video on Noah's first attempts at riding a real bicycle.

video

There is more, much more to this experience but I'll save it for another blog post.

Family Bike

One of the things we really wanted to do at Black Butte was rent one of their "Family Bikes." These are also known as "Surreys."

Children under 16 are required to wear helmets and I desperately wanted to get a picture of their mushroom headed cuteness. Unfortunately Toby was much more interested in climbing the stairs.
Look at all my cute boys! Toby thought it was hilarious to bonk his helmet head into Noah's helmet and they proceeded to knock skulls for the entire bike ride. I really wanted to get a video of it but...

See the clouds rolling in? Insert music of doom here.

Right after I took this picture my bag fell off the Family Bike and all the contents spilled out. Including my camera which burst open and spit out its batteries. I gathered everything up but then my camera wouldn't turn on again. (It turned out okay. After a change of batteries it still works but there is a new hairline crack on the LCD display screen.)

For awhile we had a blast. The first part of the bike trail was all downhill and we were whooping and hollering with glee. We rode down to the General Store and picked up the fixings for s'mores. It was fantastic. But then we got back into the Family Bike and winds shifted.

We were pedaling uphill with strong winds against us. Our whoops and hollers were now coming from the deep desire to be inside where it was warm and where our legs muscles didn't have to feel like noodles. We pedaled and huffed and panted up the hill and when it started raining only 30 minutes into our hour long rental time we thought, "Well, at least we have a good excuse to give up." 10 minutes later we returned the surrey to the Rec Center and hightailed it over to the Sports Shop to see if they were selling mochas!

Cabin Time

A great deal of our holiday was spend just hanging out at the cabin in Black Butte. It is a wonderful house and I'm looking forward to many years of visiting there. I was able to read through 7 books in 8 days which was pure bliss for me. Geary read a lot and watched several documentaries. Noah loved climbing the stairs and exploring all the little nooks and closets. He called them "Noah Caves." Tobin cruised around all the furniture and really liked driving toy cars off the stone steps. And of course there was the nightly Sorry tournament.

We brought our own Sorry boardgame, Grandpa Bob brought his, and then we found another set at the cabin. We also played Memory, Go Fish, Snap, Speed, War, Slap Jack, and Mexican Train Dominoes. I love vacations like this where there is no pressure to do and see everything. Just hanging out with the people we love brought so much relaxation and deep satisfaction with life.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Waddles

One of our evening traditions at Black Butte was feeding Waddles the Squirrel. Every night before dinner Grandpa Bob and Noah would set out a trail of peanuts. And every night during dinner the same chubby squirrel would come scampering across the deck to eat them. Noah said it perfectly when he declared, "Waddles is totally bloggable."







Sunday, June 08, 2008

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety Jog

We're back from our holiday to Black Butte. Pictures and stories are forthcoming but first we must unpack!