Leave a comment

Saying Goodbye to Try

The other day Betty said to me, “I want to do something I’ve NEVER done before!”  I literally blinked my eyes and stared at her in wonder.  Not for the first time, either.  This girl seems to say things which I feel like have come from somewhere deep inside my own heart.  Unspoken.  Then they find words  and come out of her mouth.  “Really?”  I answered, playing with her hair.  She’s been on big rollercoasters and flown inside a cessna airplane.  I could tell in her eyes she had a hunger to experience the thrill of something new.  Just like her mama.  So, even though she’s done it before, it had been a long, long time.  We decided to take a walk around the neighborhood and she asked to bring her bike.  It’s been about a year since she rode it, and she was nervous about falling down.  My favorite thing about our time together, wasn’t the fact that she did in fact ride the bike without me holding on.  No, my favorite thing was how she talked to herself while she rode.  “I can do this!  I can do this!  I can do this!” she breathed over and over while I slowly let go and ran beside her.  Cheering her on.  Watching her fly alone.  In her hounds-tooth dress and polka dot rain boots.  Her fear lay in a pothole somewhere between our house and 8th Ave.IMG_8061There’s something incredible about what we say to ourselves.  I dare you to listen to yourself when you’re thinking.  It’s incredibly enlightening.  Do you say things to yourself that you would never allow someone to say to your child?  Or to you?  Changing negative thinking has totally transformed my life and is transforming the lives of our children.

Interestingly, Paul didn’t say, “I think I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  Nope.  We should never say we will try to do this or that.  Every time we try, we make a small exception for ourselves to fail.  And you know what?  You might mess up and fail.  But that should never keep us from picking ourselves back up and getting stronger.  I CAN do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

I am so proud of these kiddos.  We completed our school year a couple weeks ago.  They have all grown and accomplished so much!  2016-05-06 14.08.57
Being out of school has been just what we all needed.  There has been a lot of imagination and rearranging and purging that comes when Mommy’s brain is free from thinking of school for a couple of weeks.  We started our vacation out right with a broken arm.  Broken in three places, no less.  That girl is incredibly tough. This is the second time this has happened in her short little life.    She doesn’t complain, and she really hasn’t let it stop her from doing anything.  When I told her to be careful on the playground, Betty piped up: “At least I can jump!  Because I have two arms and two thumbs and two elbows!”

New neighbors just moved in next door, and the boys had no qualms about asking them if they could have a bunch of their huge furniture boxes to make a small town with them.  The rest of the day was spent cutting and creating tiny houses.

Earlier this week, Elsie let out a big sigh in front of me and said,”I just want to run a business or something!”  She kept persisting, and finally her dream became a reality.  Older sister and a friend all chipped in to squeeze lemons and taste test the perfect lemonade.  We had some very enthusiastic salesmen and women, who were not afraid to ask the UPS man, the neighbors, and any passersby’s to buy a cup of refreshing lemonade.  Why?  Elsie, broken arm and all, determined it was to raise money for gymnastics.  This has been a huge dream of hers, and I’m so proud of her for looking ahead, past the “impossible” and seeing her arm healed enough to take gymnastics. IMG_8156
Many days are spent gardening and cutting fresh flowers, enjoying delicious berries, and being amazed at how my belly has popped out with pride and joy.  At 17 weeks, baby Chip is kicking and loving the berries I’m eating.  Most recently, Matthew put up a new fence on the one side of our yard.  It was an exhausting day.  But one of my favorite kinds of tired.

So very thankful and daily more in love with this guy.  He takes good care of us.  He feels great, which is something we never ever take for granted.  Once your health has been on the edge of survival wondering at the surety  of your next breath, you never go a day without praising God for one more day to enjoy this thing called life.  Every day my passion grows to help others who are hurting and sick and tired of being sick and tired.

For the next coupe of days I need to get my game on and face my least favorite past-time: packing.  The motivation of having five whole days with Matthew by my side, along with some of the most motivating, loving, encouraging people… I’m not going to TRY.  I will take a lesson from my sweet Betty and whisper: “I can do this.  I can do this.”  I can confidently face my suitcase and smile.

 

Advertisements


Leave a comment

Fingerless Gloves & Papaya

It’s 8am and only the sound of batter sizzling in the waffle iron is hitting my ears.  Snow fell rather silently all night long, accompanied by vicious wind, which uncharacteristically woke me up several times throughout the night.  We even ended up with a small little darling in our bed, half-way through the night.  Nadine is getting snowed in at a friend’s house, which caused Elsie to abandon her usual spot with Betty, and snuggle instead in big sister’s bed.  This in turn caused Betty to find her way to our room in the middle of the howling night with some howling of her own, begging us to bring Elsie back to her bed so she could sleep.  It’s sisterly love at its finest.  Just not at 3am, please.  Snuggling in our bed was certainly only second best.  I was reminded once again just how much room one tiny body can take, and by 7:00 I found myself more than ready to abandon my swiftly shrinking cacoon and make for the kitchen.  With snow piling up outside, I decided to do what any snowstorm calls one to do: make cinnamon rolls and waffles.  Carb overload for survival.  So, with the dough proofing in the oven, waffles sizzling away, and snow falling, my half-gloved fingers are enjoying what my African heart is craving: papaya.  2016-01-23 08.03.47And a hot mug of tea.  2016-01-23 08.28.17Matthew comes downstairs, with his slippered feet shuffling across the kitchen to me.  By now, everyone has emerged from their beds.  2016-01-23 08.35.34He gives me a big kiss, which gets a full evaluation by our eager observers.  “Eeew!  That’s gross!”  “Oh, man.  They’re kissing on the lips!”  “I’m just looking at my plate.”  “How do you breathe for that long?!”  “Doesn’t your air go into his nose?”  Yep.  It’s always preeetttty romantic having a running commentary while exchanging  a kiss.  But that’s okay.  I love that he’s not ashamed to show how much he loves me in front of eager eyes.

Here’s to a snow day full of cinnamon rolls, a turkey dinner and each other!

That’s right.  A turkey dinner is on our list.  We thought since we never had a white Christmas, we will extend our celebrations to mid-January.  So if you happen to find yourself craving a turkey dinner, we’ll carve a spot out on our street for you and you can join us at our table.

 


1 Comment

September Snapshots

This week in school has been busy!  We made gliders in Science class one day to learn about drag and experiment with a long skinny wing vs a short and wide wing… which flies further?  It’s always fun when school can be brought outside.
September 2015
Our sidewalk always needs a sweep, and we have a few kids who adore sweeping.  I love her joy and I also love her outfit… which has been going strong for three days now.  I think it’s one of her favorites too!  DSC_7828-2
I’m thankful for homeschooling, but by three o’clock my brain is toast and I need a few minutes of alone time.  The other day Betty, who’s middle name is shadow, said, “I really want to follow you because I have a lot of stuff to say to you!”  I mean, really.  How do you not squeeze someone like that?  She’s also very perceptive of when I need a break.  A couple days ago, she happened to be walking up the stairs behind me as I retreated to my room for a few minutes of silence.  She immediately said, “I’m not following you, mom.”  I laughed on the inside, and her wit started the process of melting away the stress of that day.  She is loving Kindergarten.  She constantly wants to do more and learn more.
September 20151
Elijah continues to invent, experiment and build.  He got over his fear and mastered a front flip off the diving board this summer.  He almost made me dive headfirst into our grill while I was flipping hamburgers the other night, when he snuck up behind me and scared the living daylights out of me!  He’s a great big brother.  He loves music and his guitar lesson is the highlight of his week.
Captured Videos
Nadine is doing great in school.  She loves her time with her rabbits.  Yes, Oreo is really jumping into the air.  He races around our front porch and Nadine says he’s happy when he does that.  I don’t speak bunny, but she does.  She occasionally babysits now, which she enjoys very much!  She is super into coloring to de-stress, and continues to be the best letter-writer in the County!
September 2015 phone photos1
Jack keeps improving on his reading.  He is strong and a perfectionist.  He enjoys competing with Matthew and one day he will beat him, I’m sure!  He totally beats me in pull-ups, push-ups and the like.  He loves to play with coins and carry them around in a sock.
September 2015 phone photos2
Elsie is a great big sister.  She and Betty still enjoy twinning some days.  She is very much into gymnastics, even though not officially taking lessons. She watched some YouTube videos and learned how to do a back bend, and how to do a back pullover on the bars!  She has turned into a bookworm, and I love that her favorite book right now was one of my favorite books when I was her age: Annie Oakley!  She constantly is tidying up around the house, and more than a few times I have come upstairs at the end of the day to find the bathroom scrubbed, or my bed made.  She is a strong girl with a lot of determination!
September 2015 phone photos3
In a few weeks Matthew & I will be running the Ragnar relay again.  So I’ve been running a lot.  Since we started taking Plexus and my blood sugar has been stabilizing, I actually sweat now.  I never used to sweat, and so this is a new phenomenon for me and I text way too many pictures of my sweaty face to Matthew because it tickles me… literally!  When I’m not running or teaching school, I’m IN school or in our kitchen.  Things I study: I’m still studying to become a certified aromatherapist, which I love and dive into when there’s a free evening.   Also, constantly researching gut health.  My favorite beverage is a tumeric latte, which helps with inflammation.  It’s a sad evening when the whole thing spills all over the table and dyes the floor yellow.  It’s amazing stuff.
September 2015 phone photos4
DSC_7846-2
Time with Matthew is incredibly precious.  The other night we were able to slip away for a little date.  I pulled out some shoes I haven’t worn since I was a teenager.  Fun times!
In closing, I’ll attach a video we made yesterday.  In science we decided to conduct a little experiment about a product in our house we generally think is “healthy”.  But is it?  Check it out to see our amateur video attempts.  This was our first run through, and the kids thought the humor was fun so here it is.  First cut.  Enjoy!


1 Comment

When Sparks Fly and Cracks are Backed

It’s two o’clock, and I am finally eating lunch.  The quiet scribble of one person doing their writing homework is like music to my ears, while the hot tea is like medicine for my harried brain.  Outside, the boys are reading on the trampoline.  You know, between jumps.  This morning was full of dictation, reading out loud, and lots and lots of math.  Math four times around each day has both enriched my  brain and caused it to temporarily shut down for the day.  A few facts I have learned today:

The moment I have to use the bathroom is the moment everyone has a need of great importance.

Informative speeches are impossible to write.  (That fact is up for debate.  Maybe the person claiming it should write a persuasive speech to prove their point.)

It is not difficult to make deodorant, and it smells amazing.

I often wipe my nose on my sleeve without even thinking.  Please tell me this is something moms with small kids often do.

Receiving a big box with a smile on the side is a huge reason for celebration.  Especially when the box contains a new heating element for the stove.

Ah, the stove.  About a week ago, I was testing out some recipes for my first ever cooking class.
2014-10-16 00.21.23
As I preheated the oven for some grain-free corn bread, I noticed a small flame dancing inside the oven.  This would not be a problem if we had a brick oven, but ours happens to be electric.  I tried to blow it out, because this has worked in the past.  When it seemed to get bigger and start spreading, I called Elijah to grab the fire extinguisher.  I ordered everyone outside, while we unsuccessfully put out the sparking flames.  Finally, I told Elijah to run get our neighbor, while I called 911.  Fortunately, I was able to tell the dispatcher never mind, as our neighbor ran over with a big fire extinguisher and the grand idea of flipping off the breaker connected to the stove.  The second he did that, the fire fizzled into nothing.  What a bunch of excitement.  And mess.
2014-10-15 19.17.43

Of course my cooking class was in about ten hours, and I was now without a stove.  Enter: wonderful neighbors again.  Thankfully, their stove was just fine, and the classes were able to go on as planned, with just a little extra walking.  I also paid double to have someone overnight a new heating element.  How exciting it was to receive the box.  The thrill died about as quickly as a blown-out candle when I pulled out a completely bent element that would not work at all.  Thankfully, you can return things in this country.  The box we received today with the smiley face on it contained a just as happy part, which will be responsible for much delightful baking this fall.

Now, seven hours later, I can hardly believe another day has passed.  Often you can find out what filled my day, by glancing at the open tabs on the computer: Aromahead Institute, Patchouli, Artemisia, DIY rope rug, Amazon, Crockpot Bacon and Goat Cheese, Elderberry Syrup, Hillsong Acoustic Sessions.  The other way to find out what has filled our lives the past couple of weeks is to dump some photos from my phone:
October phone photos3
Winter clothes turnover day, many Betty faces, our own William Tell, walking Toby the rabbit, school planning squeezed in during piano lesson time, late night Bible studies, and lots of tea.2014-10-18 17.14.27
This week we also saw our whole Weldon family, including our Italian family and the college boy, which was a huge treat!

October phone photos4
Sleepy head Betty, and her outfit of choice this Sunday: red silk and black velvet Christmas dress, blue cotton tights with pink flowers on them and black patent leather shoes.  She has been asking a lot when Christmas is coming.  She asks in such a way that makes it sound like a person is coming to visit us very soon.  My week has also been full of aromatherapy school, pumpkins and the chiropractor.  Whenever we go to the chiropractor, Betty grins, gives a big sigh, and says she loves getting her “crack backed”.
October 2014
This year, the four bigs have also been involved in a homeschool co-op.  Their science teacher took these great pictures of them in his class as they were learning about density.

October phone photos5
This was the scene around the table tonight.  We’ve got four readers, taking turns reading around the table.  It is one of my favorite parts of the day.   As is this time: hanging out with my man.  Good night.


1 Comment

365 Days From Then

The van is cleaned out, laundry is going, and sand still sticks to the bottom of my bare feet, escaping from every corner of every bag brought home.  Our skin is more tan and our hearts are full of good memories.  A year ago, our lives looked quite different.  I am blown away at God’s mercy and grace to us this year.  From sparing Matthew’s life, to getting out of debt, to providing a “new” vehicle for us… the list goes on.  Thank you, Father.  A year ago, instead of vacation at the beach, we hung out in a hospital room.
August 20131
This week was quite different!  It was sung to the tune of ocean waves and time away as a whole family.  We have never had a vacation for a week with just ourselves in all of our married years!  A lovely opportunity came up for us to do so, and we gladly accepted the offer.  I think the last time I played in the ocean every day for five days in a row was… this week!  Like, IN the ocean, not just on the beach watching one of my babies play in the sand.  Elijah actually came up to me in the ocean and laughed out loud, “I love seeing you all wet, Mom!”  I played with the “biggie board” as Betty calls it, and made an entire city of sandcastles one day!

DSC_4196-3 DSC_4211-3

DSC_4236-2 DSC_4240-2 DSC_4248-3 DSC_4249-3 DSC_4253-3 DSC_4275-3 DSC_4288-3 DSC_4302-3 DSC_4304-3 DSC_4307-3 DSC_4333-3 DSC_4341-3 DSC_4354-3 DSC_4372-3 DSC_4375-3 DSC_4385-3 DSC_4394-3 DSC_4402-3 DSC_4406-3 DSC_4436-3 DSC_4483-3
Our week was full of front-porch talks, VW van sightings, a ride on the log flume with my two littles, bike rides, “biggie boards”, a visit from dear friends, a visit with family one day, and delicious food.  Unfortunately, I forgot to pull out my camera except for a couple of days.  I did catch a few extras with my phone, here.
Phone Photos August1
It is hard to see the week come to an end.  But new adventures await us as we start school in earnest, and an exciting change is in store for Matthew next week.  I will share more about that later.


Leave a comment

Three-Four, Open The Door

March has a tendency to speed right along, almost as if it’s anticipating spring as much as the rest of us are.  It’s been a super fun-filled month so far.  Exactly three weeks until race day, the trail has seen a lot of my old sneakers.  Between miles there has been much chocolate, a medieval feast with friends (we are studying that period of history together), an Ikea trip with my sister and nieces, furniture painting, cute kids, field trips and birthday celebrations with friends.  There is much between the lines, many memories and blessings.  Lots of words are flying about in my  brain, unsettled as of yet; waiting for the unseen breeze to stop their spinning.  
Phone Pictures
But right now, today, thirty-four is shaping up to be fabulous.  


2 Comments

Mangoes, Heartbeats, & IV’s

School is always in session, even when it’s not.  Take for instance last night when Elsie looked at me while drinking from a little milk container, straw stuck in her mouth while she talked:  Mom?  Am I drinking a cow’s pee?  I then had to explain the anatomy of a cow.  Fun stuff, really.

We almost managed to avoid visiting any doctors for an entire week.  My wrist has been acting up (has a lot in the past) and I thought it was finally time to get an x-ray.  At the urgent care, I was told it was nothing but a ganglion cyst.  Ganglion is one of those words I really don’t like saying.  I don’t mind the word “gang”, it’s kind of cool-sounding, really.  A lion is so strong and majestic.  Put them together, and ganglion is just plain awful.  It feels dreadful too.  Thankfully I didn’t need an x-ray, but Elsie is bummed we won’t have matching casts.  I’m amazed at how she has had zero complaints about her pink cast.  She rides her bike, jumps on the trampoline, plays on the playground, and has a personal assault weapon on her at all times.  2013-09-23 16.13.46
We had a fun time with Matthew’s family last night.  Jack learned how to use chopsticks.  He loves China, including its food.  Notice the concentration:
2013-09-23 16.20.13
This week, Matthew was able to bring Elijah to work with him one day.  He had an excellent report from the boss, and was a big help!
2013-09-23 16.23.46
Besides being good with the drill, he is also a handy taste-tester.  What’s an African girl to do when she has a few mangoes on her hands?  Make mango sauce, of course!  That, right there, is a small taste of my childhood in a bowl.  I’m always happy when I can share a piece of Africa with my kids on this side of the planet.
DSC_4564-001
Nadine’s  love tank is always full whenever she can hold a heartbeat with fur on it.
DSC_4569-001 DSC_4568-001
She has also been incredibly helpful watching Betty each day for slots of time so I can write, cook, and do school with the short crowd.
DSC_4576-001
Today marks the second and last Rituxan treatment for Matthew.  Since I couldn’t be with him, I bugged him for pictures.   I know he wouldn’t post them himself… but… I would, because I love him so very much!  His voice is still weak, and sometimes he still is a bit tight, but he “feels” good.  We continue to pray for strength and healing!  I am so incredibly thankful for a man who never sits around (except if there’s an IV pumping through him!) and is never lazy.  He simply follows Jesus in his attitude, actions, and mindset.  I’m not married to a perfect man by any means, but he is a real man.  There is nothing remotely fantasy-related in his life.  He is all real-life and hard-core.  Grow old with me, my love!
2013-09-23 16.06.05