Saturday, February 26, 2011

Recent Toby Funnies

Geary (handing Noah a map):  Will you be my navigator?
Toby:  And I want to be the alligator!


I was making brownies for Dessert Saturday and Toby was helping me.  As we spread the batter into the pan he asked, "What are you doing with my blueberries?  Wait..what are those called? Brownberries?"


At church a friend was writing kids' initials on their cups so we could tell them apart.  When Toby was handed his cup he exclaimed, "T for me!"

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Snow Day

They are two brothers, the taller one stepping ever closer to the smaller one so that the little brother's snowball will actually make contact when thrown.

Twenty minutes earlier I was doling out hats, scarves, gloves.  We live where it snows only a few times each year so we don't invest in snow gear that will be outgrown before it is worn more than three times.  The boys wear warm flannel pajama pants beneath their jeans.  Two pairs of stretchy Dollar Tree gloves on each hand.  Scarves, then coats, then boots.  I top them off with warm hats.  "I want the sheep hat!" Toby claims the funny hat with ear flaps that Noah outgrew last year.

"Mom, I want to try something," Noah explains that he's been reading Little House in the Big Woods and tells me all about how the family made candy by pouring maple syrup into the snow.  "Can we?"  He face is all eagerness and wonder.

I go the cupboard and pull down the bottle of maple syrup.  One quarter inch of brown, viscous liquid rests in the bottom. I hand the bottle to my son with a smile.  He jumps once in excitement and then the door is open and an icy breeze bursts through the house.

I sit with the baby on Noah's bed and we watch the big brothers from the window.  Our too tall grass is poking up through the snow.  I should get my camera, I think to myself.  But I cannot tear my eyes away from the delight on the faces of my two older sons.

Miles pats the window and bounces on the bed as he watches his brothers.  He turns to face me and I know he feels the same.  We should sit here and watch and enjoy and engrave the picture in our hearts.  The baby sits on my lap and leans his head against my chest.  We are satisfied.

They kick at the snow making little trenches through the back yard.  Snowballs, tiny snowmen, gazing in wonder up through the frosty tipped tree branches.  They have entered Narnia and it is magical.

I consider getting my camera again but the thought is interrupted by a loud thud against the window.  We are are under attack! The big brothers are throwing snowballs at us and Miles throws his head back against me, his giggles filling the air like so much soul healing music.  Thud!  Thud!  We are laughing on both sides of the window.

Now Noah runs for the bottle of syrup.  Miles settles back into my arm and I rest my chin on his soft baby hair.  We watch as the boys select the perfect spot for their experiment.  Noah tips the bottle and the maple syrup slowly pours out.  We wait.  A blue jay soars overhead and lands on the fence.  I see Toby touch the maple snow and bring his pincher fingers to his lips.  His eyes open wide and he smiles.  It is good.

They take turns picking at the maple snow candy.  Tasting, delighting, living.  Noah turns to face the window and gives a big gloved thumbs up while he mouths, "It worked!"  I nod and grin back.  He waves to Miles and Miles waves back.  I don't want my camera.  I want to memorize this moment.  No paper photograph can capture this sense of joy, beauty, and love.

There is knocking at the back door.  The boys are cold and wet.  We peel off the gloves and coats and scarves and boots.  It is time for hot chocolate.  Hot chocolate with marshmallows and straws.  They sip warmth back into their bodies as Miles dances at their feet.  I lift my eyes heavenward and whisper my thanks.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Win A Poppy & Pearls Necklace

A friend from college, Jennifer, is hosting a giveaway for one of my Poppy & Pearls necklaces on her blog called The Art of Being You.    Check it out here to enter and make sure to click around on Jennifer's blog, too. She's got lots of interesting and fun articles about reclaiming femininity.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

My To-Don't List

I've listened to several friends talk about how overwhelmed they are as stay at home moms this week.  They feel like they can't stay on top of it all.  The house is messy, the kids are messy, they feel frumpy, dinner isn't done, and date night?  What's date night?  With each friend  I nodded empathetically because I knew exactly what they meant.  But then each one asked, "How do you do it all?"  And my socks were shocked right off of my feet.  If I've ever presented myself as "having it all together" or "doing it all" I am truly sorry.  That is a big. Fat. LIE!  The truth is that...I don't.  I don't do it all.  I can't.  No one can.

I remember reading my friend Carolyn's blog around this time last year and she shared about a woman who carried two lists with her:

On one side of the paper is a list of things she does... on the other side of the paper is a list of the things she doesn't do. In order for her to be able to do the things that she does, she also has to not do the other things. In other words, she only has so much time... and so she has chosen to invest it on the "things I do" side. And if she wants to add something new to that side, then she probably has to move something off of it to the "things I don't do" side. Then whenever she sees someone else who, for example, bakes her own bread, and she thinks to herself, "Wow, I wish I baked my own bread... I don't measure up." She can remind herself, "No, look at all the things that I have chosen to do... I could do that too, if I was willing to give up something else."
You can read Carolyn's whole post here.  Carolyn shared some of the things on her "Things I Don't Do" list and I'm going to share some of my list, too.  Ready?

  1. I don't wash the dishes.  Geary has graciously taken on that chore for me.  Once in a while I'll load or unload the dishwasher but it's very rare.
  2. I don't make lunch for Geary or Noah.  They make their own.  And I love them for it.  I also don't pick my son up from school.  He walks with Geary.
  3. I don't write out the answers for my Women's Bible Study at church.  I always read the chapter and I try to actually show up on Tuesday mornings but in this season of life Women's Bible Study is on my To-Don't list.
  4. I don't bake my own bread.  I used to.  For a couple months.  And then it got to be too much so...I stopped.
  5. Okay, this is a big one.  And here's a little background story.  My sister-friend, Emily, once told her mom, "You know, for all of Jeana's domestic-ness...she doesn't really cook."  It's true.  I don't make dinner.  I used to be great at meal planning but after Miles was born I did not have the brain capacity or the physical stamina to plan menus or get dinner on the table.  So now we use a service called Dinner's Ready.  Every month they deliver about 13 prepped meals to our door.  Then all I have to do is take one out of the freezer the night before and follow the cooking instructions.  And honestly, I don't even usually do that.  Geary does it about 70% of the time.  And the other nights we eat leftovers or something simple like soup or pancakes.  I don't know that I will need Dinner's Ready for the rest of my life, but it sure is helpful now.  .
  6. I don't  make my bed.  Unless company is coming over and might see our room.  Pride...ugh!  Usually I just...shut the door.
  7. I don't  do Women's Ministries.  I love women.  I love being a part of the Women's Ministry at our church, but right  now I choose not to do it because if I did I would have to give up something else from my "To-Do" list.  It is hard to feel out of the loop and I miss the creative outlet and connections with women that I am used to (and the back-pats and praise, I admit).  But it's okay.  Not doing women's ministries is a good thing for right now.
  8. I don't  really get dressed except Tuesdays (Bible Study), Fridays (Friday Playdate) and Sundays (Church), unless I have to be somewhere.  Toby and Miles mostly wear pajamas.  All day.
  9. I don't scrapbook or archive my kids' milestones.  I guess this blog takes care of some that but Toby and Mile's baby books are 100% empty.  And even Noah's is only filled out through his first 10 months.  Along those lines I also don't knit or crochet or needle felt or paint or sell my jewelry in real stores, or sing in a choir, or audition for plays, or take graphic design classes or grow roses or decorate cakes or study Greek or have a fresh herb garden or teach classes or....fill in the blank.
  10. I don't plan or attend very many play dates.  I used to try to get together with other moms with young children multiple times per week.  The grown-up connection was nice but then I was left with no time for taking care of my house and other responsibilities.  I also found that when I was pouring my heart out to other women I was not pouring it out to my husband.  Please hear me: I am in no way suggesting that anyone stop getting together with friends.  Friendships are vital to life!  But for me, in this season of my life, I need to stay home more.  I need to concentrate on keeping my home a peaceful abode and keeping my children and husband within my full range of attention.
There are many, many more things that I don't do because doing them would suffocate the life and beauty out of the things I do do.  Things like playing with my children and listening to my husband share about his work and walking with friends.  Please notice that all the things on my list would be good things to do.  Beneficial, even.  But they can't take the place of the other good things I'm doing.  Greater good type of things.

And I am learning that I don't need to compare my dos and don'ts with anyone else's.   I have amazing friends who knit and garden and coach sports teams and lead Bible studies and cook amazing dinners.  I don't do those things.  And it's okay.  Because I do make jewelry, and sew, and blog, and keep up on the laundry, and treasure hunt and oh so many other things.  God has made each of us different, with different talents and skills and capacities for doing.  There is no need to compare.  And there is no need to pressure ourselves into "doing it all."  The Do lists and the Don't lists will be constantly changing anyway--giving up some things to take on new things or holding off on new things to finish old things.   Just do what you need to do and whatever you do (or don't do) do it all for the glory of God.

If we could do it all we wouldn't know our need for God or for one another.  We are meant to live with limitations and we are wise to set boundaries.  Don't live in an overwhelmed state because you think you must "do it all" and "measure up" and never show signs of weakness.  Live in a state of truth.  Truth that God meets us at our points of need.  Truth that we are created to live in community and it's okay to ask for help.  Truth that God looks at you and sees his beautiful daughter--juice stained yoga pants and all--and he loves you.  He delights in you.  You.  Not all the stuff you can get done.

And that is all.  Now get out there and do!  Or...don't.

Monday, February 14, 2011


If you walked into our house on any given day you might find the five of us dancing in the kitchen.
And it would probably be to this song.  Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Zoo Boys

Yesterday my sweet friend, Rhonda, invited us to take advantage of her membership pass and join her and her beautiful little son at the Oregon Zoo.  It was a gorgeous, sunny day so how could we resist?  Rhonda was smart and brought her camera.  She caught some lovely shots, too!  Click any picture to enlarge.

Miles and the sea lion
This one had buck teeth!  Can you see 'em?
He was also missing an eye so he looked like he was 
constantly winking--so cute!

All the zoo boys and the other sea lion.
It was so cool when the sea lions swam together
like synchronized swimmers.  They are so big and yet so graceful.
Can you see all three lions in this shot?  I love lions.
Probably because I love Aslan.

Caracol Wild Cat
This guy's ears could turn completely backwards!
Toby did a cute demonstration with his hands on his head.

Painted Wild Dog

This exhibit had a little tunnel for kids to climb through
and then they could pop up in a bubble inside the cage.
Toby didn't want to go by himself so I crawled in, too.

This is one of the critters we saw from the bubble.
I don't remember what kind of bird it is but it reminded us 
of Zazu from The Lion King.

Also, sharing the cage were these little mongooses.  (Mongeese?)

Toby was really excited about seeing crocodiles.
I hate crocodiles/alligators.  But they're okay behind glass, I guess.
Miles and his buddy seemed pretty into them.

View from the top.  
Ugly beast.  Ugh.

Colobus Monkey
He seemed to enjoy watching Toby as much as Toby
enjoyed watching him.  My boy is so cute--
how adorable is he with his back pack?

Polar bears were another must see.  There was a huge one and a little one.
We got to see the big one get in the water, but the smaller bear just did this
funny little backwards and forwards dance.  
Finally, he peed at the edge of the pool 
and we wondered if that was potty dance 
and if he was waiting for a little privacy and 
then just couldn't hold it any longer.  Too funny!

All our little bears.

We had a great time and it was nice to spend some moments in the sunshine with a beautiful friend.  Thank you, Rhonda!  You are a blessing!

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Step on a crack...

I'm in Seattle to attend a friend's vocal recital.  Last night my brother was going to show me how he could flip on one of those pull up bars that hook onto a doorway.  Just as he pulled himself up and swung his legs forward, the piece of trim over the door gave out and Jared and the pull up bar came crashing to the ground.  The memory of that thud will be difficult to forget.

At first I thought he had landed on his neck, but he quickly rolled himself onto his knees, moaning in agony.  Once he caught his breath and was laying flat on the bed he could tell us that his back was in extreme pain.  My mom took him to the E.R. and after an x-ray and CAT scan he was admitted to the hospial with four compression fractures in his spine.

He spent most of the day in the hospital, and got a back brace.  He is being discharged as I type this.  He is on some good pain medication but I know he is still hurting.  Please pray for my brother, Jared.  Pray for complete healing, rest, and peace in his heart.  He'll have the back brace on for 6 to 8 weeks and then we'll find out what's next. Thanks, friends.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Hope Blooms

Pretty pink flowers have opened up on my beloved little camelia tree.

Their bright faces, alive with beauty.

Some are barely opened, brand new to this earth.
Others have already stretched their petals fully, eager and ready for any
dose of sunshine or drop of rain.

And the honeysuckle on the trellis is bearing leaves once more.
Other wormy creatures, already enjoying a tasty treat.

It's early still, with months of winter to go.  But hope blooms.
This shadow season won't last forever.

"When Aslan bears his teeth, winter meets its death. 
When he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again." 
— C.S. Lewis

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Noah's Ark

Here's a recent Lego creation from Noah (age 8). I love his creativity!

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Treasure Hunting

I've been itching to go treasure hunting (aka thrift store shopping) for a few weeks now.  Our little town has a couple of small thrift stores but my favorite is the one behind the fire station.  My friends and I lovingly refer to it as "The Thrift" and part of its appeal is that the adorable old ladies who run it mark the items at yard sale prices from when they were young!  I'm talking ten cent teacups, picture frames for a quarter, jeans for a dollar.  My best find to date was twelve Pottery Barn cloth napkins, brand new, in the package, for 80 cents!

Today, after Bible Study I had to go to the Post Office to mail off some jewelry orders.  The Post Office is really close to The Thrift so I decided to peek in and see what they had to offer today.  Here's my haul:

  • $1.50 for that funky mirror which is going to look amazing once I spray paint its frame.
  • Two adorable milk glass bowls for holding beads for 15 cents each.  
  • And those red boxes are going to be perfect for organizing all my sewing supplies.  There are 12 long boxes and 4 short ones--all for $2.00 total!
What thrifty treasures have you found lately?